“My name is Masahiro Tanaka. I’m very happy to be a Yankee.”
Those were the first English words Yankees fans heard from Masahiro Tanaka as he was introduced in a press conference earlier this afternoon. There were over 200 media outlets at today’s press conference, the largest press conference for a Yankee since Hideki Matsui in 2003. Matsui was responsible for convincing Tanaka to choose the New York Yankees while the Masahiro Tanaka Sweepstakes had Major League Baseball in a frenzy.
“This is Yankee big,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “This is Steinbrenner big.”
Tanaka took the podium, showing character, admitting he was a bit intimidated by the press conference but also added he was very excited to be a Yankee. His main goal was to win a Yankees World Championship, an answer that would surely make George Steinbrenner proud.
Before Tanaka, the Yankees signed two Japanese pitchers who they had big hopes for; Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa. Irabu had his moments but Igawa was considered a major flop. The Yankees are now hoping the signing of Tanaka would prove third times a charm. Tanaka’s aware that the New York fans can be harsh if you do not perform up to their standards, but he was ready to rise to the challenge and is excited to get into actual Major League games–especially the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry.
Tanaka will head to Tampa, Florida on Friday when pitchers and catchers are slated to report.