Messenger Responds to Daughter’s Letter!
Club Record 7th Straight Season w/Victory Crushes Giants
A sheepish grin is followed by a million dollar hit. Randy Messenger’s 4th inning blunder showed just how anxious he was to win. Taichi Okazaki, who was on first base, raised both hands to stop him in his tracks as he scuttled back into the batter’s box. He slashed the next pitch into shallow right to score two runs. He got his first win on the season and was able to grin broadly afterwards.
“I kept fouling off pitches and kind of lost track of the count. The result was the RBIs, that is, runs scoring, so it turned out good.”
Two outs, bases loaded and a two run lead. He wanted the extra runs so badly he could almost taste it. He was so focused on the at bat, fouling off three straight pitches after a 1-1 count. Then a ball, and another. Though it was still just a full count, he thought he had earned the walk already, dropping his bat and jogging towards first. He was able to bounce back after realizing his mistake, dropping a hit into right and extending the lead by another two runs.
Kanemoto even said, “That (hit) really felt like the game clincher,” as it put things out of reach. Randy raised both arms in triumph from first base, facing his teammates in the third base dugout.
“My first two outings were a little unlucky, but I guess the third time’s a charm, and I finally got a win. The team did a good job behind me.”
He was the Opening Day starter for the second year in a row and third time overall, but could not record a win in his first two outings this year. In one game the hitters provided insufficient run support, and in the other, March 31st against the Swallows (at Jingu Stadium), he left with a lead but it was squandered in later innings. That game went 5 hours and 12 minutes, and the team didn’t arrive in Yokohama until late at night. Still, the big man was up and running the streets of Yokohama by 9am the next day. On this day, his fastball was strong and he was able to ride the momentum of the first inning when he escaped a jam. He went 8 innings, scattering 7 hits and allowing 1 run, and recording at least one win in each of his seven seasons in Japan, dating back to 2010.
He should keep on rolling from here – for the Tigers, his wife and his four children. His 7-year old daughter Francesca wrote him a letter before his Opening Day start (see below).
His heart was filled with love. He’s ready to give it all he has to win the pennant.
He ended his hero interview by saying, “You guys are the best fans in Japan and I’m always thankful for your support.” He should continue to pile up the wins and bring smiles to those around him.