Motohiro Shima made a speech to fans after the Rakuten Eagles home opener on Friday at Kleenex Stadium. Daily Sports has posted the speech, which I've translated down below:
To the fans that came out to the stadium, that watched the game on TV, that listened over the radio: thank you for joining us today during these [tough] times. I'm sure there were many fans that came despite a lot of difficulties and a lot of fans that wanted to come but couldn't...
When the earthquake struck, we were in Hyogo. We were far away from our homes and we couldn't get in touch with our families; we traveled to various places Japan, full of uncertainties. And we grew gloomy as more information became available through the media.
When I think back to how things were then and think of how we just played a homer opener here at Kleenex Stadium, I just can't believe it...
After the disaster, the players waited until the day we could return to Tohoku by talking about what we could do, what we should do. Then 5 days before the start of the regular season, we all returned to Sendai.
While burning the images of the vastly changed Tohoku region into our eyes and spirits, we visited relief shelters and apologized for taking so long to return. And when everyone greeted us with open arms and told us not to quit because they weren't going to quit, it made me cry. That's when it became clear why we had to play [baseball].
We learned something [important] over the last month and a half. We learned that people who have something to fight for are strong.
The people of Tohoku, let's get through this. Now, this time right here. We're going to beat this, no matter what. If we can get over this now and get to the other side, I'm sure we'll be greeted by even stronger versions of ourselves and a much brighter future. Let's show everyone how strong Tohoku is!
Thank you very much.