Guess who just got back today?
Those wild-eyed boys that had been away…
Thin Lizzy had a smash hit in 1976 with their celebration of reunification. The Hanshin Tigers were hoping for something similar these past two days but first baseman Mauro Gomez experienced a smash of his own.
Scheduled to leave his home country of the Dominican Republic on January 27, his car got broken into and his bag containing his passport got swiped. As a result he cannot enter Japan and he’s waiting for a new passport back home. This obviously puts his timely arrival at spring training in Okinawa at risk. He was hoping to be on time this year after arriving late last year due to the birth of his first daughter and her subsequent illness. Gomez and the team are doing everything they can to get him to Japan as soon as possible.
And now for some better news. Ace pitcher Randy Messenger arrived safely at Kansai International Airport yesterday. He’s with his family which includes newborn son (his 4th child) Roland. He said he spent much of his off-season taking care the kids and being a good stay-at-home dad. Looking forward to another great season from the big guy.
Outfielder Matt Murton also arrived in recent days looking a little slimmer than last year. The batting champion says he worked his core really hard these past few weeks and hopes to lead the team to a championship this year. As always, he says, when he puts in the work and does his best, the numbers should follow. We sure hope they do!
Finally, closer Seung-hwan Oh flew in from Korea couple days ago as well. He actually looks a little bit bigger than last season, but that is the result of working out hard in Guam the past month or so. Oh hopes to do three things the season. First of all he had his worst performances against the Giants this past year. He doesn’t feel like they were particularly more difficult than other teams, and hopes to be able to stop them dead in their tracks this year. He got some great advice in the off-season from former Giant killer Yutaka Enatsu and really hopes to become the next great stopper. Second, he wants to have better results during interleague play. Last season he got a little bit sick during that time, and racked up a very mediocre 4.15 ERA. This also included half of his 4 losses on the year. Finally, he hopes to reduce the number of blown saves the season. That will help contribute to a pendant and hopefully a championship too!
So now we await the return of Mauro Gomez, and then we can truly say the boys are back in town, ready to produce another smash hit in Kansai and bring the club a championship — one that’s 30 years in the waiting.