Fukudome's First Was Fabulous, But He's No Kaz Matsui


Kosuke Fukudome's Cub debut
was so riveting Monday afternoon, it was almost enough to distract from Kerry Wood's ninth-inning failure and the larger disappointment of losing the opener to the Brewers.

But terrific as it was, Fukudome's plate performance didn't quite match up to what one of his countrymen, Kaz Matsui, did when he first took the field for the Mets four years ago. On that evening, Matsui slugged the first pitch in his Major League career 429 feet, well over the center field fence in Atlanta's Turner Field, and set his new team off on a 7-2 season-opening victory. In addition to the homer, Matsui ripped a pair of doubles and walked twice, so he reached base five times in five PA's.

Given the way Matsui eventually stunk up New York, it could be argued that his Met career went straight downhill following that first game.

In any case, here's a review of the most prominent Japanese hitters to cross the Pacific and how they fared in their first regular season games on American soil:

Ichiro, Mariners
MLB Debut: April 2, 2001 v. A's
Went: 2-for-5, including a strikeout and a run scored
Team result: Mariners won 5-4

Hideki Matsui, Yankees
MLB Debut: March 31, 2003 v. Toronto
Went: 1-for-4, with an RBI
Team result: Yankees won 8-4

Kaz Matsui, Mets
MLB Debut: April 6, 2004 v. Atlanta
Went: 3-for-3, including HR, 3 RBI, and a run scored, plus 2 walks
Team result: Mets won 7-2

Tad Iguchi, White Sox
MLB Debut: April 4, 2005 v. Indians
Went: 0-for-4, including a strikeout
Team result: White Sox won 1-0

Kenji Johjima, Mariners
MLB Debut: April 3, 2006 v. Angels
Went: 1-for-3, including HR and a run scored, plus a walk
Team result: Mariners lost 5-4

Akinori Iwamura, Rays
MLB Debut: April 2, 2007 v. Yankees
Went: 1-for-3 with a run scored, plus a walk
Team result: Rays lost 9-5

Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs
MLB Debut: March 31, 2008 v. Brewers
Went: 3-for-3 with a double, game-tying, ninth-inning HR, 3 RBI, and a walk
Team result: Cubs lost 4-3

Of all these players, Iwamura--who manned third base in Tampa last season, but is playing second this year--had the most productive first month in the U.S., hitting .472/.482/961 (OBP/SLG/OPS).

Ichiro went .358/.431/789 in his first month with Seattle; Hideki Matsui, who currently has a lifetime OPS of 856, put up a dismal .320/.364/684 line in his first April with the Yankees.

Comments

Here is footage of Fuku's HR from WGN -- check out the fan who caught it -- spilled his beer all over the guy in front of him

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjkNRWXyCI8

Speaking of "rick rolls"...check out this footage of a REALLY BAD canadian television show making fun of the elderly

http://youtube.com/watch?v=H3KmjHt1Kb0

Well played Crunch

Dude, that gag's tired.

hmmm, you might want to check this link again.

I got Richard Simmons...

NOT April Fools Day!

Stop wasting our time.

not funny.

Whoa boy.

Talk about a sandy vagina...

talk about a weak stab at humor.

Also, a tip of the hat to TCR reader CUBBY, who obviously speaks Japanese and noted in last night's Comments that bleacher fans were holding up Japanese language signs that translated to, "It's a fluke."

Paul Sullivan addressed this in the Tribune today...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/cs-080331-chicago-cubs-milwaukee-brewers,1,2710174.story

...and it's sounds like the signs might have been professionally printed by the "It's Gonna Happen" guy, who either hooked up with a crappy translator or just trusted Babelfish to write the Japanese for him.

why thanks cubnut. im just your average long-suffering fan with no special knowledge of metrics or anatomy, so im glad i was able to contribute (if you can call it that). im an interpreter living in japan btw. and yes, the chunichi fans I know are pissed he left and bitter over his stunning debut. HA!
(theyre loving the โ€œitโ€™s a flukeโ€ thing though. assholes.)

Chunichi fans are to Kosuke as Illinois basketball fans are to Bill Self.

Thanks, CUBBY. Hope you keep reading and updating us

By the way, is there any way to capture the spirit of It's Gonna Happen in Japanese? If not, that guy's Asian t-shirt sales are going to take a big hit.

"Chunichi fans are to Kosuke as Illinois basketball fans are to Bill Self"

LMAO! HAHA!

Nicely done, CN

lol. I'd love to find out what Fukudome thought when he saw those things. maybe someone can post a youtube video of the signs?

Are you asking to be Rickrolled? Don't taunt Carlos! He's armed!

uhh...thats definitely NOT footage of k-fuks homer. not even close. yeesh.

While I expected it to happen at some point, I didn't expect it this early.

"Already coming off two injury-plagued seasons, Martinez limped away with a strained left hamstring in the fourth inning, after just 57 pitches.

"He said he felt kind of a pop," Mets manager Willie Randolph said."

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=280401128

Hope this isn't 3/44, but King Kaufman linked to a really good article on Brian Bannister:
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/royals/story/550237.html

No, you are not being Rickrolled...

Great article.

yeah, the classic underdog story.

One of these times you guys are gonna post a real link to K-Fuk's homer and E-Man's not gonna click on it. Then you're really gonna be sorry.

That's not funny.

Trans, when are you going to put up the game preview?

Anyone seen a lineup?

Lineup...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/gameTrax?gameId=28040...

I think Cubnut has a preview coming up shortly...

According to Mike Murphy from WSCR, his "insiders" said that Wood drilled Hall for popping off about the Cubs in spring training.

Take this with a large spoon of salt.

I can believe it. I thought it might have been intentional.

It's a really stupid thing to do, obviously. We all know there's no reason to put the leadoff man on in a tie game, but Woody may have been a little too cocky that he could get out of it.

Someone in another thread called Mike North the village idiot of Chicago sports radio. He's second in line; Mike Murphy is first.

This hybrid lovechild explanation of K-Fuk is a pretty good.

http://blogs.e-rockford.com/cubs/2008/04/01/no-off...

finally found a non-profane Fukudome t-shirt that I can wear in front of my kids if anyone is interested. www.fukudomeismyhomie.com. I'm sure they'll still think I'm lame.

Ah, nothing like spam for breakfast.

at least it's on topic spam

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  • FYI, formatting of the web page is weird.

    JoePepitone 2 hours 4 min ago view
  • Now who can argue with that? I think we're all indebted to Gabby Johnson for clearly stating what needed to be said. I'm particularly glad that these lovely children were here today to hear that speech. Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed a courage little seen in this day and age.

    Jackstraw 2 hours 16 min ago view
  • White Sox new stadium name w apropos logo

    https://mobile.twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/768...

    jacos 2 hours 57 min ago view
  • it was between that and "more like the CRUNCH REALLY EARLY AM REPORTER because i'm gonna c.r.e.am all over this place."

    i chose the classy route.

    crunch 2 hours 58 min ago view
  • Rob G. 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • that was the 2nd greatest piece of performance art since Donald Trump's campaign

    Rob G. 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€ good shit goเฑฆิ sHit๐Ÿ‘Œ thats โœ” some good๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œshit right๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œthere๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ rightโœ”there โœ”โœ”if i do ฦฝaาฏ so my self ๐Ÿ’ฏ i say so ๐Ÿ’ฏ thats what im talking about right there right there (chorus: สณแถฆแตสฐแต— แต—สฐแต‰สณแต‰) mMMMMแŽทะœ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘ŒะO0ะžเฌ OOOOOะžเฌ เฌ Ooooแต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘“๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘“๐ŸŽฉ๐Ÿ‘๐ŸŽฉ euphoric logic !euphoric loGic๐Ÿ‘Œ thats โœ” some euphoric๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ’ป logic right๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ’ปthere๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œ Carl ๐Ÿ”ญ Sagan๐ŸŒŒ๐Ÿ’ซif i do ฦฝaาฏ so gentlemen ๐Ÿ’ฏ i say so ๐Ÿ’ฏ thats euPhoric logic right there Richard ๐Ÿ“’ Dawkins๐ŸŽฉ (chorus: socrates died for this shit) mMMMMแŽทะœ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘“๐Ÿ‘ŒะO0ะžเฌ OOOOOะžเฌ เฌ Ooooแต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’แต’๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐ŸŽฉ ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ’ฏ ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘“๐ŸŽฉ๐ŸŽฉ๐ŸŽฉ ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘Œeuphoric logic slam me the FUCK uP ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘€ john cena JOhN cEna

    crunch 3 hours 37 min ago view
  • You can start the CRUNCH EARLY AM REPORTER. Then you can blog to yourself, and argue with yourself about Jon Lester.

    The E-Man 4 hours 46 min ago view
  • my current job has me coming in at 7am (eastern)...i miss staying up til 2am to watch west coast games.

    crunch 6 hours 29 min ago view
  • Remember when west coast road trips were a good time to catch up on some reading?

    Old and Blue 6 hours 46 min ago view
  • Taboola field is more appropriate.

    Old and Blue 6 hours 47 min ago view
  • we can only hope...

    The things you have to do to pay for James Shields contract.

    Rob G. 7 hours 28 min ago view
  • I wonder if they'll have to make use of the Guaranteed Rate logo, which is a giant red arrow pointing downward.
    https://www.guaranteedrate.com

    Brick 7 hours 34 min ago view
  • unsurprisingly, the White Sox continue a tradition of stupid stuff....

    @DannyEcker BREAKING: Guaranteed Rate has purchased naming rights to U.S. Cellular Field. Will be known as Guaranteed Rate Field thru 2030.

    Rob G. 7 hours 37 min ago view
  • that was a very kind 3rd strike to hendricks to end the 3rd.

    man on 3rd, 0 outs and got 2 pop-ups and a K...Maddux-lite indeed

    Rob G. 7 hours 47 min ago view
  • how did Fowler not score from 2nd on a double?

    by making bad decisions...

    Rob G. 7 hours 54 min ago view