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January 15, 2009

Orioles' Sherrill on Koji

sherrillap.jpgOrioles reliever George Sherrill (right) has some experience playing alongside Japanese players from his time playing with Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima with the Seattle Mariners, and told Jeff Zrebiec that the arrival of Koji Uehara and his contingent of foreign media will add some excitement to spring training and the regular season.

"It’s going to have like a New York road clubhouse type of feel to it,'' Sherrill said. "I think it’s good that we’ll have spring training. Once that’s done and the season starts, you’ll be used to it, and it will be out of your mind and you will not think a second thought.

"Obviously [Uehara] doesn’t have the star following that Ichiro does, but just because [Japanese players] are so few and far between here, [the media] does follow them pretty heavy. He’ll have his little following. We had an interpreter for Johjima and for Ichiro as well and all the reporters that come through. But all in all, it wasn’t bad. It’s something you get used to. After a while, it’s like they're not even there."

Sherrill said that Uehara will fit in very quickly with the Orioles. There is a language barrier, of course, but the Japanese and American players get along well because they have baseball in common.

"They are accepted right away because they are part of the team, part of the family. It gets a little taxing at times talking through an interpreter, going back and forth. But having Ichiro and Johjiuma as teammates was incredible. Both of them are really good ball players and really good people. I didn’t learn a lot of Japanese words, but it was fun getting to know them."

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:30 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

He's going to make him flatten his hat brim, isn't he?

Peter,

Do you have any sense with Andy's "plan" on when the Orioles are going to add 1 or 2 marquee free agents? Would it be 2010 or 2011? I understand and support Andy's decision not to waste money on free agent signings this year, but I'm not sure I could stomach such a sub-par squad for 2010. Just trying something to look
forward to.


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Pete's reply: Obviously, it depends on what happens with the young pitchers and top young position players this year. If Wieters shows up and is another Evan Longoria and Adam Jones makes another jump, I've got to think next winter would be the time to strike if the right players are there. That's also when some veteran contracts fall off the books, so there would be no financial excuse. From an attendance standpoint, they really needed Tex this year, but that wasn't going to happen. Hopefully, they'll show enough promise this year that they can convince some good players that they can make the difference.

Here's the one Japanese word O's fans will want to learn: Gambare! (Japanese is always easy to pronounce, the vowels are regular, unlike English -- hence gam-bar-eh!)

It means "Do your best," and it's the all-purpose cheer. Gambare Orioles! Uehara Gambare! Gambare Schmuck-san!

Save the curse words for his second season at the earliest.

Pete,

I've never been a proponent of Dunn, but by not signing a couple of major league quality arms to fill out the rotation, it limits the competitiveness of the O's this season and maybe beyond. If these young pitchers come up too soon and get destroyed by the Yankees, Sox and Rays strong lineups every night, who's to say they can rebound? I agree with you in that the "old way" was not working, but by not showing any real motivation to have a quality 2009 rotation, you jeopardize the development of your young pitchers by having them pitch when they're not ready and two, crushing their confidence. Not to mention alienating their diminished fan base for another season of horrid baseball. Hope won't sell tickets and banking on three 21 year old pitching "prospects" to turn your franchise around in 2010 in simply unrealistic and foolish to me.


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Pete's reply: It's a tough equation, no question about it. But they have to fight past the problem of good pitchers having no desire to sign here. If the young guys start to show promise, maybe you're in a better position to make your case to free agents next winter. It is going to be tough to be competitive in 2010, but the team has run out of rope with the fans.

good luck wieters

George, please fix your hat! Ichiro and Kenji could have taught you how to form that bill. Look like a major leaguer. You pitch like one, so look like one. PLEASE!

Pete , a quick Raven question , everyone is focusing in on the linebacker free agents soon , but what about Jason Brown he is a free agent also. Can we keep him also , I would hate to see this young line broken up just when they could be something great.....................What do you think?

Go Ravens.............

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Pete's reply: I haven't heard a lot of concern that they won't be able to keep him. I'll have to ask around.

Pete-Thank you for your blog on Koji and Andy . I think Koji is just first step for O's/Japan relationship . And after hearing Andy's comments , it seems to connect with your own comments about current free agent market . I finally UNDERSTAND how free agency vs rebuild concept you and Andy were emphasizing .
It not easy being O's fan due to stalemate on Markakis , the quagmire on Roberts ,inability to land good free agents, and neverending song on new spring training home . Instead of boycott the games , I will give the O's/Andy a couple more years .

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Pete's reply: I think they need to get the Markakis thing done over the next few weeks and will be disappointed in both sides if it doesn't get done. Roberts is a different issue. He may just want to go to a winning team, in which case Andy needs to shop him this spring.

In that photo , I think that's the only time I've ever seen Jay Payton with the flipped bill . He generally wouldn't go along with it .

Spy : grapevine say Miami has a big interest .

Did Koji sign for 10 mil yen or $$ ?

Pete-

Does this mean that we'll have to sing the National Anthem in Japanese as well as American at Camden Yards?
I suppose any kind of attention this brings the team is probably for the better. Better for what, I'm not quite sure...

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Pete's reply: No extra anthem. If they did that, they'd also have to sing about three or four others.

Pete-

To go along with the previous question about the anthem. I live in Japan and Ive never heard the Japanese National anthem played at any sports events. In fact only once or twice a year have I even seen people flying Japanese flags.

But I can tell you this. The talk among my Japanese coworkers has been...Who are the Orioles? Where is Baltimore?...And they all know Im from the area but no matter how many times I told them Im an O's fan they just never register it.

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Pete's reply: Thanks for the note. I never really thought about whether they played the Japanese anthem at baseball games. Of course, it's not hard to find something to educate me on.

Thanks 'artist' , I would hate to see this line split up.................I believe they could develop into a nice wall to protect Joe Cool , I hope Ozzie can pull off some magic............Go Ravens.........

Spy : my sentiments as well .

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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