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Yuki Saito News and Notes: January 17, 2011

by on Jan.17, 2011 @ 11:31 am, under NPB

This post will be updated with information as it becomes available so keep checking back if you have any interest in Yuki Saito.


Saito threw two autographed balls into the stands yesterday.  His first baseball was caught by a 29-year-old man named Hisahiro Tsuji (辻久博 ?).  Saito's second ball didn't make it into the stands at first (it hit the protect fence and bounced back into the field).  When the ball finally did make it into the stands, a 32-year-old man named Makoto Kaneko (金子誠 ?), that arrived at the park at 5:30am and considered himself a Yomiuri Giants fan, caught the ball.


Kamagaya mayor Kisyoshi Shimizu also took part in the event and accepted all of the rookies' moving in notices during the rookie welcoming ceremony.

Shimizu also told reporters he'd like to round up memorabilia from rookies that spent time in Kamagaya in order to set up a museum.  And he plans to start things off by putting the hand impressions the players made during the ceremony up for display at Shin Kamagaya Station (tentatively named the "High Five Corner").

16 of the 27 city council members also attended the event.


At 6:55am, most of the parking lot was full.  The stadium was opened 15 minutes ahead of schedule (at 8:45am) because there was a line that extended about 300 meters and contained about 2,000 people.

Kamagaya sent 60 officers and 1 helicopter to patrol the area around Kamagaya Stadium.  The Fighters beefed up security and placed 48 security guards (3 times normal) on the Kamagaya grounds.

Five TV stations, including TBS and NHK, sent in helicopters of their own.  A total 41 media outlets and 272 reporters covered the event.


As mentioned yestersday, Saito merchandise sold out quickly (Sasnpo's report today says the items were sold out in 90 minutes) -- there were 200 t-shirts, 200 face towels, and 500 mobile phone straps.  And it seems some of the people that purchased his merchandise have already decided to auction them off at higher prices: a Saito t-shirt that sold for 2,800 yen is currently going for 3,000 yen with a Buy Now price of 6,500 yen; and a set of Saito merchandise that sold for 5,500 yen is going for 8,250 yen.


Masataka Nashida feels all the attention Saito is getting may be making Sho Nakata's life a little easier this winter (since it likely means the media has less time focusing in on Nakata).

Nashida also feels that Saito has a good handle on the situation (the pressure, the expectations).  And there's still a chance he'll catch Saito's first bullpen session -- Nashida has prepared a catcher's mitt in case he needs it.


Sanspo has some comments from Saito:

Your took part in the welcoming ceremony after practice...

It was a lot of fun.  Professional players have more of these opportunities.  I think I was able to take a big first step.

You spelled out the word VICTORY with Ni-gun mascot Cubby...

It was our idea.  I decided to be the letter T because it was easiest.*

1,100 fans were in attendance...

I didn't think so many would come.  I don't want to let any of them down so I want to do my best.

Today was the first day of the second block.  You wore your cleats for the first time and played some catch...

It was the first time I wore my cleats, but I have yet to throw a bullpen.  I would like to toss a bullpen during the second block.

* Sponichi notes that Saito won second in a rock, scissor, paper contest amongst the rookies and got the chance to pick the letter T.


Saito wore the same pink neck warmer he wore on the 14th.  He also wore a white training suit with pink stripes along the side.


Saito told reporters he wanted to toss a bullpen session tomorrow in order to check on his balance.  It seems he could throw about 30 pitches (including his off-speed pitches).

Saito also had a chance to meet former owner of the number 18, Tsutomu Iwamoto.  Iwamoto was in camp doing a story.


Masataka Nashida took part in a PR event for Sapporo's upcoming Snow Festival and resorted to puns involving Saito's first name, which closely resembles the word for snow (yuki).