Other major league teams have had as many as three Japanese players on the roster at the same time, and one — the Boston Red Sox — even briefly had four. But none have had the prestigious group the Yankees now has. As a result, the entourage of Japanese news media trailing the Yankees in 2014 could be a record-setter.
When Darvish joined the Texas Rangers in 2012, he was met at their spring training facility by about 150 reporters, the overwhelming majority of them from Japan, according to John Blake, the Rangers’ executive vice president for communications. And when Darvish arrived, the Rangers already had Koji Uehara and Yoshinori Tateyama on their roster. But only Darvish was a star.
The Yankees, in contrast, were already attracting a great deal of attention from the Japanese news media because Suzuki and Kuroda are such prominent players, with Suzuki almost surely headed to the Hall of Fame. Adding to the Japanese interest in the Yankees is the simple fact they are the most famous baseball team in the world and that Hideki Matsui played in the Bronx from 2003 to 2009.
[Photo Credit: Emily Veach for The Wall Street Journal]