Legend or Myth? BOTH!

Some people say Santa Claus doesn’t exist or is not real. They might be right, and Santa might be nothing but a myth, but I met a legend who was dressed as a myth, visiting Japan to bring joy and hope to millions.

As he does many Decembers, former Hanshin Tigers great Randy Bass made a trip to Japan to help Hanshin Department Store boost its sales. I’m sure that’s not his only reason for coming, mind you… I have no doubt the man has hundreds of friends who are excited to see him.

He did a tour of several Costco stores in Japan to promote his own brand of beef jerky. I missed out on the chance to meet him at the warehouses, but tried to find him at the department store today.

IMG_6393The thing is, there is no announcement about what time he will be appearing, or on which floor he will be. It’s all left up to chance. So I went to the first place I thought he might be – the Hanshin Tigers merchandise store on the 8th floor. I found a few cut-out pictures of him, but the man was not there.

IMG_6394Since I was with my son and there was a rule about “no pictures with Bass Santa for anyone but kids” and “no autograph requests will be granted” I thought I may as well head to the kids’ clothes floor. It took just 30 seconds before I heard a few people applauding, and I knew what was next. Security guards in front and in back. I had no choice but to follow the rules. However, I did get a shot with the man and my son. (I do not have official permission from my wife the authorities to post that picture, though.) I also got to shake his hand (twice) and say a few words to him.

IMG_6395“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir” and “Thanks for coming all the way out to Japan to see your fans” and “I’m the guy you were chatting with on Facebook earlier this week! I’m glad I got a chance to meet you in person!” were about all I said. He was very kind in return, and I must admit, the man has big, strong hands. I wish I could shake with that kind of authority!

I have now met three of the most famous Hanshin Tigers imports in team history! (Randy Bass, Gene Bacque and Matt Murton.) Next on my list are Randy Messenger and Jeff Williams… when I meet both #54s my mission will be complete! I’m coming for both of you big bad pitchers! Be on the lookout for me!

Merry Christmas to all!

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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.