I have never been a big baseball fan. When I say this to my fellow American friends, Japanese friends, British friends, Australian friends, oh wait… any friends, they always seem surprised. The American girl who speaks with a southern twang and grew up on a farm is supposed to love baseball, beer and cracker jacks.
Although I do love beer and cracker jacks, baseball has never been an overwhelming interest of mine. Even though I do occasionally enjoy a summer night’s baseball game, I blame my overall apathy for baseball on my brother. From age 8 to 18, I cheered for my big, bad brother Jon as he sacked quarterbacks in their end zones and grabbed rebounds on the court. But, never once did I see him hit a homerun on the field. Jon and I were too busy playing horse to play in little league. So, other than chewing baseball bubble gum that imitated chewing tobacco and watching attractive guys run around the bases, I never developed a huge passion for the sport.
That being said, after arriving to Japan, I have been exposed to more baseball than ever before. This may be because people in Hiroshima love their baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Or, because one of my best friends is from Seattle, so the mere mention of her hometown to any Japanese person evokes happy thoughts of the Seattle Mariners and Japan’s Ichiro Suzuki. Within my first week of living in Japan, I was well aware of Ichiro’s batting and RBI average and his many contributions to the Mariners.
Therefore, when I opened my newspaper the other morning and saw Ichiro had been traded to the New York Yankees, I knew it was a big deal. In the past 48 hours, I have learned more about major league baseball than I ever knew before. I know that Ichiro holds the record for most hits in a season. I know that the Mariners are last in the AL West and the Yankees are first in the AL East. I now know that AL stands for American League. I know that all my students hope that, as a Yankee, Ichiro will make his first appearance in the World Series. So, although as a southern belle, I am probably supposed to dislike the New York Yankees on the principle that they are yankees, it seems that Ichiro Suzuki may make a baseball fan out of me.