Hiroki Kuroda was lit up for seven runs against Boston in Fenway Park over the weekend, but it probably had little to do with the pressure of the situation. That’s because Kuroda knows pressure after going through intense hazing rituals while growing up as a young ball player in Japan.
“In order to play,” Kuroda told David Waldstein of the NY Times, “you had to survive. We were trained to build an immune system so that we could survive and play.”
Waldstein’s goes on to tell an uneasy story of Kuroda running for up to 15 hours without water or food, getting hit on the ass with bats, and being forced to knee on asphalt with no protection among other things.
“Reflecting upon my baseball life, that was the time that I had the most fun playing baseball,” he said. “I was able to experience baseball without discipline. It was the pure joy of playing baseball. But when I got back to high school, it was back to the torture.”
Not sure exactly what to say about all of this. It’s a Japanese thing I suppose. It makes you think about what these guys will go through to get themselves to the professional leagues. Read the rest of the story though.