Here’s one for the fans that you don’t often hear about.
In the third game of our recent series against the Fighters we were up against the mighty Yu Darvish, Japans’ top pitcher. He was up to form again and had a no-hitter through six innings. As our team was coming off the field to hit in the 7th, our hitting coach, Takahashi-san, called the team together in front of the dugout for a little motivational speech.
Dugout meetings are very popular in Japan. In High School there is usually a gathering in front of the dugout between every inning. At the major league level it happens more like once or twice a game.
So after Takahashi-san finished his brief inspirational talk, Bobby jumped into the center of the group and with his usual high energy and powerful voice he offered $500 to the guy who gets the first hit, $1,000 to the guy who scores the first run and $5,000 to the guy who knocks in the game winning run.
THE PLAYERS COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!!!!!! Talk about immediate energy. Everybody loosened up and started to have some fun – which is the way the game should be played. We broke up the no hitter that inning and threatened to score but came up short. In the 9th our all-star center fielder, Saburo hit a solo home run but we ended up losing 2-1. So the loss cost Bobby and extra $1,500 but as always he added a different dimension to the game that most people never hear about.