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Sanspo: Jun Umeda interviews Kyuji Fujikawa (Hanshin Tigers)

by on Jun.19, 2012 @ 10:12 pm, under NPB

Freelance reporter Jun Umeda sat down and interviewed Kyuji Fujikawa.  Sanspo has posted portions (or maybe all) of it online (1, 2).  Below is a partial translation of the interview (I selected section I thought was interesting).

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What do you do to switch gears after you make a mistake?

The thing I think about most is how there is more to life than just baseball.  I have a wife and kids.  I got out fishing on my days off.  I have fun.  And then I think I want to do something in this life.  That makes me think, even if I make a mistake in baseball, I get to wear a uniform and I get to play baseball.  And that is why I can make a mistake in the first place.  I can worry about regrets after I retire.  It is wanting to enjoy the moment.  That is why, [mistakes] can not be helped.  Of course, my apologies to the team.

So you look at things over the long-term?

I used to worry about how many more years I had left in my career, but then I felt like it was a waste of time.  My kids will get older and I want to have fun with them before that happens.  And that is why I take things like that...  If I get hit, I am frustrated, but my opponent is happy.  There are people that are happy and teams that are frustrated because they lost.  That is just part of what it means to compete.

That must mean this is an important year.  Did you feel the eyes on you last time?

What?  No, no, no...

Jim Colborn (Texas Rangers Senior Advisor, Pacific Rim Operations) was seen in the Koshien stands...

My teammates ask me about it because it shows up in the papers.  But I really do not know what is going to happen in the future.  This is life, there's a lot to it, other than deciding where to play or worrying about whether or not I get hit today or can close out a game.

What do you think of [Yu] Darvish?

I am keeping track of him.  He is still young and watching him can be fun.  But I am playing in the NPB right now and I want the NPB to thrive even when players leave.

You took on the role of a leader recently when you made some good comments about [Matt] Murton.

Murton knows that he made a mistake.  It might be ok to say that he is not playing with enough feeling, but how is he supposed to answer a question like, "So what is wrong with you Murton?"  He may have been working as hard as always, but something may have been missing.  What did they want him to say?  He could not say he was not able to perform.  Maybe the only thing he could think of was a variation of, "Do you guys think I do not like Nomi-san?"  If you ask me, this is not a big deal.  It is not something that messes up the team, but I do think we need to pull together.

So that is what kind of a person Kyuji Fujikawa is!

Nomi-san is the ace.  Nomi-san has influence over how the team does.  Nomi-san has the most difficult job a pitcher can have.  Murton is also in a tough spot.  Everyone looks to him in the line-up.  It has to be plain to anyone that this team can change depending on Murton.