This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.
Saito's new signature was revealed yesterday. Instead of writing out Saito Yuki in kanji, he's now writing Saito in a broken down form of hiragana (something Hideo Nomo did when he was with Kintetsu). It appears Saito decided on the new signature because it was easier and quicker to write (meaning he'll be able to sign more autographs for fans).
About 200 people still showed up at Kamagaya yesterday, despite it being a day off.
Yu Darvish's thoughts on Saito, taken during a Nippon Ham product presentation gathering yesterday:
Compared to me, he has a different type of personality. [When I was younger] I was saying silly things and my attitude was different. And I ultimately made some "mistakes" during camp. Compared to that, he's completely different.
(Mistakes = smoking and playing pachinko during his first spring camp in 2005)
And Saito's comment on meeting Yu Darvish again:
At the end of last year, I had a chance to meet him with an introduction from [Norichika] Aoki. He was really big and had an aura... It made me think again how Yu Darvish is the type of pitcher you want to work towards becoming. ... I'm also a little silly too. ... I'd like to work out with him during camp and ask him about everything. Things like weight training routines and nutrition.
Darvish also reportedly said this to Satio:
You might be a little worried about Tatsuya Oishi (SEI, 1st round), but Seibu is a team that focuses on running. Nippon Ham's training schedule is a little light, but it's the best. You'll be alright as long as you don't push yourself too hard.
And team owner Hiroji Okoso comments on Saito:
More than being a start, it'll be the results he puts up as a member of this team. I'm sure if he puts up great performances that lead to victories, he'll quickly become a part of this team and will be loved by the fans. That's where Darvish's popularity lies. ... And if he can't do that, he will no longer be a part of the team.
Sanspo has additional comments from Saito:
So you appeared at a company function...
I'm happy to be a part of the Fighters. I'm relieved that I was able to say my hello's to people that weren't able to come out to Kamagaya.
Any of those people make you feel anxious?
I think the manager and the coaches. I've met the manager before, so it was a quick exchange.
What about Darvish?
I said hello to him today. And he said let's meet again at camp.
People were cheering for you at the ceremony...
I was really thankful. I want to do my best so that continues.
Practice begins again today...
I had a nice start during the first block. I want to keep that up for the second block.
Saito showed up in a black training suit and a red neck warmer for practice today. That's now orange, black, pink, and now red.
There was already a huge line of people waiting outside at Kamagaya at around 8:30am.
There was also snow on the field at Kamagaya Stadium.
According to Nikkan Sports, Saito merchandise (600 yen mobile phone straps; 1,200 yen face towels; and 2,800 yen t-shirts) was sold out within 30 minutes. Sponichi claims an hours. The Fighters will also be selling the items online beginning on the 21st.
Eight media helicopters covered the ceremony today. And despite the snow (-1 degrees Celsius), the parking lot was apparently full by around 7am in the morning. (via S-1)