Photo: Masahiro Tanaka meets Hideki Matsui at Yankee Stadium in 2006

Former Yankee Paul Blair passes away at 69
Almonte and Pirela wrap up strong winter ball seasons

With a hat tip to Reddit, here’s a photo of a young Masahiro Tanaka meeting Hideki Matsui at the old Yankee Stadium (click for larger). It’s from 2006, when the Japanese high school All-Star team was touring the United States. There are some other (non-Yankees-related) photos in this stream.

Masahiro Tanaka Hideki Matsui

Now the Yankees just have to figure out how to get Tanaka to take their many millions of dollars to pitch in the new Yankee Stadium.

Former Yankee Paul Blair passes away at 69
Almonte and Pirela wrap up strong winter ball seasons
  • Eselquetodolosabe

    Game, set and match. Make the call Hideki. Give him the honor, tradition, privilege, etc…, that’s associated with the NYY. Get’r done Godzilla !

  • El Johnny D

    Yanks should re-sign Matsui to a 10 day contract or something. Have him convince Tanaka to sign here during that time.

    Or just hire him as a “special assistant” for the year or something.

  • Bo Knows

    Good…good; the seed was planted years ago….excellent (insert evil laugh)

    • Liz


  • CashmanNinja

    The way that Matsui went out as a Yankee pretty much makes him the perfect pitchman, in my opinion. He was absolutely huge during the biggest games of his life. He was a Yankee for a while and really did well when making the transition from Japan. He was a bit older though, but I still feel that considering what a huge name he was in Japan before coming here would basically be a huge honor to someone like Tanaka. Ichiro was big in Japan (and still is, obviously), but he hasn’t been a Yankee for all that long. Kuroda has been here a few years and could serve as a great mentor for another year, but I still think Matsui is the best salesman for this job.

    • vicki

      yankees let him walk and signed nick johnson instead. hoping everybody forgot about that part.

      • OldYanksFan

        In the 2 years after the Yanks let Matsui go, he posted a combined 2.0 bWar. He last (partial) year, he was a -1.3 bWar. This was one of the Yankees best moves.

        Chances are we would have paid 2/$20m for that.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        He was cooked at that point. Mr. Glass was definitely the bigger mistake there.

        I don’t think you mean it, but do you think there’s some sort of grudge there? I really, really doubt that considering his symbolic retirement as a Yankee and his being there for the Mariano celebration.

  • Mike B

    Bring in Matsui as new 1B Coach & put Tanaka’s locker next to Ichiro’s

  • Hideki Matsui

    Search your feelings, you know it to be true…

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Cute pic.

    Now show me a pic of a young Tanaka giving LA and Chicago the finger.

  • Sam

    Reminds me of Clinton shaking hands with Kennedy.Photos are staged almost exactly the same:

  • Troy

    Is that Kuroda next to tanaka?

    • forensic

      Kuroda would’ve been 31 years old in 2006. Assuming those are all the players on the high school team, I would certainly hope that’s not him…

    • nyyankfan7

      Not all Asians look alike you racist

      • Chase Whitley Strieber gets an anal probe (AKA Electric Nunez ll)

        That made me laugh…

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I…..don’t know what to say about this screen name.

          Nunez II, Electric Boogaloo was always a winner for m.

    • Liz

      Someone on the reddit thread mentioned that was Yuki Saito

  • iYankees

    Bring in Matsui to talk about the wonderful porn scene in New York. Done deal.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    honestly, props to whoever for being able to spot tanaka in that picture. not to be racist, but that would be like finding a needle in a haystack for me

    • Greg C

      I could see scenarios in which that isn’t far from the truth, but the first 2 guys have drastically different faces, and the first 5 clearly visible faces are all distinct.

      I said something similar when I saw the 5-6 white guys Saturday Night Live added to the cast this season. They all pretty much look related, but If I really lined them up and took a look I would notice the differences.

      • forensic

        There have actually been studies on it and it’s often called the cross-race effect. People of one race/ethnicity have an easier time identifying and recognizing people of their own race vs. people of a different one. It’s not being racist, it’s just how the human body recognizes faces, though it lessens the more you’re around a particular race.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner


        • Old guy almost 60

          What!?! You mean its not Ok to scream RACIST every time someone makes a remark about a non-white person?

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I don’t think its useful to scream “racist” at anyone. Doesn’t being people any closer. Doesn’t bridge differences or attempt to create any sort of mutual understanding.

            Also, we’re all racist. That’s kind of the first step in dealing with it all.

            “That’s racist” as a meme is a different story, or maybe it’s not….

        • Greg c

          I’m just a typical white guy, and the Japanese guys look nothing alike, as I stated. It’s obvious, regardless of observer’s race. I added the white on white observation to shows it’s just a lazy statement. I’m just saying, in case it wasn’t clear I’m just another white dude. I don’t find the statement so much “racist” as lazy or a lame attempt at humor. The visible faces in that pic look nothing alike.

        • Greg c

          I guess it might apply to being around specific faces of a particular race, too. I mean, I’m pretty sure I could pic Matsui out of a sea of a thousand Japanese faces. And to me, he has a pretty distinct look. Maybe if I’d never seen him before his face wouldn’t stick out.

        • Greg c

          Just to use the first 2 faces as an example, I see big differences that are no different than if I were looking at 2 white guys that look nothing alike. First guy has round, thick features, wide face, larger nose. I look similar, as a white guy. 2nd guy has a very thin, angular not-rounded look with a straight small nose, higher bones, flatter features.

          It’s like looking at Nick Swisher and AJ Burnett and saying they look the same. Or, if you need similar hairstyle/color, Swisher and Pee Wee Herman.

  • BK2ATL

    If it makes a difference, hell yeah, use everything we got to make the pitch and close the deal. Matsui, Kuroda, Ichiro, CC, McCann, Jeter, whoever’s available and willing. Hell, have Mariano make a call. Then Cashman shows up with a blank check and another for $20 million. LOL!!!

    Get it done!!!

    It’s crazy. They held back significantly, even after much scouting, on the Yu Darvish posting. Made a token offer. Now that they see the results, they want all in on an admittedly lesser talent. What a difference 2 years makes. Tanaka will end up costing more in total than Darvish….Crazy baseball world we’re witnessing.

    • Evan3457

      Tanaka will end up costing more because more than one team will be able to bid for his services, not just because the Yankees will be bidding.

      • forensic

        Also because there are two years of more inflation and revenue in the game.

    • The Boss

      Back during the Dynasty Era of the 90’s that’s the way we rolled….had everyone from Our mngr. Saint Joe to Jeter to O’Neil & Bernie make recruiting calls. Those were the good old days when we owned the entire Free Agent Market.
      The Boss

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Did Rick Rhoden and John Candelaria make recruitment calls too? Both Niekro brothers?

        • Greg c

          Of course. How do you think they landed Steve Sax, Mell Hall, and Dave LaPoint?

  • Nick Social

    Matsui was the man.

    • vicki

      cooler than santa claus, baby.

  • RetroRob

    Wow. Great find, but more odd to me is I actually remember when the Japanese high school All-Star team visited Yankee Stadium. It was mentioned in the media, perhaps even on YES.

  • Nathan

    (Email from Cash to Tanaka):

    O hai Masahiro. I’ll just leave this with you

    [insert YouTube link to Matsui retirement & reception]

    Your pal Cash

  • Michael

    I reallllllllly want Masahiro Tanaka to go to LA dodgers since I am from the west coast and I am big dodgers fan. But to see this pic, it is a bad omen. You can tell from looking at this pic Tanaka really look up to Matsui. A little high school kid in Yankee stadium must had put an impression on him. Furthermore, Kuroda and Ichiro are there.

  • The Boss

    He is all ours Baby….. And it’s about time we shelve that $189M idea & pay the tax. We’ll lose 10 times more +++ in not making playoffs & not being in Fall Classic than tax. Pay the tax till we figure out how to build a farm system

  • Grover

    It may be why Ichiro is still here.

  • The Other Sam

    I like it, but still don’t think all the obvious ‘selling’ will do it. He might even be turned off by the overkill if they lay it on too thick.

    Nah, he’s got a buddy doing better than Kuroda – Darvish. If TX is willing to blow past their budget or trades to unload some salary, he goes there.

    Yankees only hope might be to just massively beat every other teams offer. Not sure they’re willing to do that, or if they even should spend limitlessly on him.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      We have absolutely no clue what “will work” and what won’t here.

      The Yankees have three legends who can attest to, whether they even speak a word directly to Tanaka or not, the respect given to them by the organization. Whether that’s what puts the Yanks over the top, or not, is something none of us can speak to.

    • xman

      yes. I remember when Matsui went to Seattle, becuz they had Ichiro. In reality, he went to NYY. I don’t buy your scenario. In a word, ego. And if i’m a great Japanese pitcher trying to make a name for myself in USA, i wouldn’t want to play second-fiddle to Darvish.

      while Tanaka may not sign with the Yankees. He’s not going to Texas. I would put my money on Seattle, before Texas.

  • Liz

    He’s gonna go where the money is, end of story.

    Cool pic, though.

  • nsalem

    Would be very hesitant to commit approximately 10% of payroll for the next 6 years to someone who has never pitched to this compettition AND is admittedly not projected to be a number 1 starter. Comps in these cases are pretty much useless but I can’t help making one with Dice-K who was projected as an ace. He is about the same age as Tanaka and dominated the Japanese leagues in the same fashion Tanaka did for the 4 years prior to coming here. As i mentioned yesterday Santana and Jiminez (combined) may be had for the same money that Tanaka wil probbaly get. Santana is a certified league average innings eater who has been in the top 20 for Quality Starts in 5 of the last 6 years and Jiminez has performed as an actual ace as recently as the second half of 2013. Both of these pitchers are question marks, but isn’t Tanaka more of one.
    Shields will almost certainly be on the market by 2015. If the Phillies tank again this year (which is not unlikely), Lee and Hammels may become available and as everyday goes by it seems to be more likely that Kershaw will be hitting the market. Bailey also becomes available in 2015.
    I’m not going against going after Tanaka, but i believe that less riskier acquisitions are available now and there may be more and better ones in the near future.

    • xman

      Jimenez, Santana, and to a lesser extent Garza, are all huge risks.

      sign Tanaka, or keep under 189. End of story

      • nsalem

        And Tanaka’s not a risk? Also do you really think Garza is less of a risk than Santana and Jiminez?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I’m glad we’re coming around to discussing the risk involved. Of course there’s risk. There was risk with Darvish. A whole lot of us were right in the middle with him when he was posted.

          I’m actually someone who was lukewarm on Darvish but gung-ho on Tanaka. Figure that one out. :)

          • nsalem

            With so many bidders involved and considering how much money is out there I wouldn’t be surprised if the bidding blows way past the 105 million or so spent on Darvish (posting plus salary). This and the general trend of perceived overpays this offseason (Cano, Ellsbury, the Tigers ability to find a team to pick-up Fielders salary among others) may make it very tempting for top shelf players to pass on extension offers and wait for free agency. Cano was intent on reaching FA last year and Kershaw has stated that the possibility of free agency intigues him and has not responded at this point to the 300 million he has been offered. You would think that the performances of Hamilton, Puljos, and A-Rod would curtail some of the craziness, but apparently it hasn’t.

  • FLYER7

    Do you really want Jeter making a recruiting call made through an interpreter even if Jeter was inclined to make a call?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Sure. It’s the thought that counts.

  • xman

    yes. I remember when Matsui went to Seattle, becuz they had Ichiro. In reality, he went to NYY. I don’t buy your scenario. In a word, ego. And if i’m a great Japanese pitcher trying to make a name for myself in USA, i wouldn’t want to play second-fiddle to Darvish.

    while Tanaka may not sign with the Yankees. He’s not going to Texas. I would put my money on Seattle, before Texas.

  • tar

    What you can’t see is behind Matsui is MR. shades Igawa wearing an “I love Scranton” shirt waiting to shake his hand next. doh!

    love Matsui

    • xman


      don’t they have a statue of Igawa outside the stadium in Scranton. If they don’t, they should. With sunglasses

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Igawa and Dwight Schrute. Yes.

    • Mike

      Igawa can help us get Tanaka.

      • Grit for Brains

        I lol’ed