The start of spring training for new Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama could have gone better. He stepped up to the plate this afternoon for batting practice and he swung through the first pitch he saw. He laughed it off in front of several of his new teammates. Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati Enquirer had the footage.
Shogo Akiyama swung and missed at his 1st BP pitch. He got a good laugh out of it. #Reds pic.twitter.com/vovHi0f3Oo
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) February 13, 2020
After the day was over for the first Japanese player in Cincinnati Reds franchise history, he met with the media for a quick interview to talk about the day and how things had gone.
He noted that there wasn’t a specific teammate that he was seeking out to meet, but that he was hoping to get to know everyone. Unlike most other players who are new in camp with a team, for a player coming over from Japan, it’s unlikely he’s interacted with anyone before. Guys that have played in the Major Leagues, or even Minor Leagues usually know a few guys from around the league simply by playing with or against some of them in the past. For Shogo Akiyama, the only Reds player he had ever met before was Eugenio Suarez, who toured with other Major Leaguers in Japan a few offseasons ago as they played in some exhibition games against several Japanese clubs.
Speaking of Eugenio Suarez, his hair game is still on point. Look at that flow.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) February 13, 2020
In non-hair related news with regards to Eugenio Suarez, it was reported earlier today by all of the beat writers that are in Goodyear, though Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer had it out first, that Reds manager David Bell noted that Suarez medical updates were “encouraging” and that “it’s realistic” that he could be ready to play by Opening Day.
I’m really excited to see what this guy can do. I definitely am not worried he missed the first pitch. He will be fine. It was neat to hear he had at least met one of the players but he is looking forward to getting to know all the team.
It sounds like he is a humble man and self deprecating in a positive way. It has to be rough when you want to probably come across as loose and relaxed but you have an awkward translator. Really kills the timing of jokes… If anybody translates this for Mr. Akiyama, my message is “Stay cool daddyoo!” and “We are jacked you’re here!”
Shogo could turn out to be the team leader the Reds haven’t had during the rebuild.
Welcome to the majors Shogo! He doesn’t know it yet but he’s going to be spending a lot of time talking with Joey Votto. Votto will want to learn how it’s done (it being hitting well and not making outs) in Japan, and Shogo will want to learn about the subtleties of facing major league pitching. Let’s hope they hit it off and Shogo is the new Tokki 3.