Have the Yankees hired Robert Towne or William Goldman as Hideki Matsui's interpreter? It sure sounded like that in Jack Curry's column yesterday in the Times:
"When I hit the ball, I kind of figured it was going to be a homer," Matsui said. "But, when I hit it, it didn't feel like I had actually hit it on my own. It felt like there were other energies, other powers, that helped me."
Matsui hasn't been flashy, or spectacular, he's been sound, and grounded instead. Both Robin Ventura and Don Zimmer had nothing but raves for Matsui in today's Daily News. According to Ventura:
"The other night at the 'Welcome Home Dinner,' we're standing there on the stage, and I look over at Matsui and he's practicing his footwork. I learned when I was with (Tsuyoshi) Shinjo with the Mets that's the way it is with the Japanese players. We were coming home late one night in spring training and there was Shinjo out in the parking lot practicing his swing! Same thing with Matsui, you'll see him making practice throws or taking swings without a bat in hotel lobbies or whatever."
..."I'll be honest," said the Yankees' resident baseball lifer, Don Zimmer, "I didn't know what to expect from this guy, other than he'd hit a lot of home runs in Japan. What's most impressed me is that he seems to do everything right. He doesn't have great speed, but he's quick at getting out of the (batter's) box and he knows how to run the bases. His arm is average or a little below, but he throws the ball accurately. If you ask me, the (cutoff) play he made in left field on Opening Day was more impressive than the grand slam."