On Friday, March 11th, 2011, a powerful 8.9 magnitude Earthquake unexpectedly struck Japan like never before, the worst one in 1200 years. This violent quake soon created Tsunamis that plowed through any city, any home and anyone standing in its way, leaving behind a sea of chaos and uncertainty.
In Major League Baseball, last Friday’s Earthquake and Tsunami profoundly touched the players with loved ones and friends residing in their homeland.
But just how did these players respond to this unexpected incident?
The answer begins with their gut feeling that soon turned into commemoration, followed with hope.
Gut Feelings as Initial Response
Japanese players resorted to their gut feeling in response to the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami.
Seattle Mariner’s Right Fielder, Ichiro Suzuki, refused to comment on the disaster because he does not know enough about the incident.
“We don’t know yet, because cell phones and power are down,’’ said Ichiro, “There are 4 million homes without power in Tokyo. I have not got hold of my family yet.’’
Boston Red Sox’s Starting Pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, on the other hand, sensed something was wrong when he awoke to the many missed calls and emails left on his phone.
“It was definitely shocking waking up and hear the news,” Matsuzaka said. “Once I turned on the television and saw what was going on, it was very shocking, very scary to see that.”
Oakland A’s Designated Hitter, Hideki Matsui, meanwhile, expressed sympathy for his native residents, as well as concern for his relatives’ well-being.
“It is disturbing,” said Matsui, “I’m a bit worried, especially for the people who live in the area.
“It is a bit difficult to watch,” he said. “Even though you’re away, it’s hard to see all that’s going on and knowing that you have much family and people you know (in Japan).”
Commemoration and Hope as Overall Response
Japanese Baseball Player’s gut feelings soon evolved into Commemoration and Hope.
Milwaukee Brewer’s Reliever, Takashi Saito, expressed so much concern about his family in Japan that he asked the team for a leave of absence to focus on them. Fortunately, he was able to soon return to the camp, after hearing that his immediate family in Japan is all right.
Unfortunately, he still has not yet heard from other relatives living in Sendai, one of the areas impacted by the Tsunami.
“I’ve accounted for most of my family there, he said in an interview with MLB.com, “But some of my family members on my father side [I] haven’t been able to contact with.”
Saito is also concerned with friends living in his hometown, particularly his high school teammate. He requested a moment of silence to honor his high school friend before starting yesterday against the Kansas City Royals.
“It was for my teammate that I played with in High School; him and his family hasn’t been accounted for,” he said, “I was just hoping for the best for them, and that’s why I asked for a moment of silence.”