Monday was a day for public remorse for events on and off the field, for Hotaka Yamakawa, who was accused of, but not charged with sexual assault, but who on Monday was suspended indefinitely, and the Yakult Swallows’ ballpark DJ Patrick Yu, for his unwitting comments after an on-field incident that drew the ire of the Hanshin Tigers on Sunday.
Both are interesting, less because of what was said than by what wasn’t.
Yamakawa apologizes for causing trouble
The Seibu Lions on Monday suspended first baseman Hotaka Yamakawa indefinitely after Tokyo prosecutors decided not to indict him over an allegation of rape due to insufficient evidence.
The 31-year-old, a three-time Pacific League home run leader who played for Japan in March’s World Baseball Classic, was referred to prosecutors for allegedly raping a female acquaintance at a Tokyo hotel last November.
“We take this situation very gravely and have punished the individual in order to encourage him to do some serious self-reflection,” Lions President and CEO Tsuyoshi Okumura said according to Kyodo News.
The Lions deactivated Yamakawa on May 12, a day after weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun reported he had assaulted a woman in her 20s. The woman had filed a report to police.
“This situation was caused by my failure to consider my position as a professional baseball player, and I will reflect deeply,” Yamakawa said in a statement.
Last week, the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association urged the pro baseball establishment and the media not to talk out their asses over the incident or in other words not to speculate on matters related to the incident without knowing the facts.
There was a lot of dancing around the issue of what actually happened, and since a civil suit may follow, Yamakawa is admitting to nothing other than causing his team and pro baseball harm by being a carelessly flawed human being.
The incident raises a question of why NPB does not have specific rules and procedures in place for specified anti-social behavior among players and team officials, but prefers to make it up as it goes along – which is what companies the world over due when not challenged about how they act in relation to workers, customers and society at large.
The Hanshin Tigers were irked Sunday when their dynamic leadoff hitter Koji Chikamoto was drilled in the ribs with a fastball while leading 7-0 in the ninth inning at Jingu Stadium. It was the 10th time Chikamoto has been hit by a pitch this year, tying him with Tigers rookie Shota Morishita for the CL lead.
After the game, irrepressible Tigers manager Akinobu Okada stood on the field staring at the Swallows dugout, waiting in vain for some show of remorse from the home team bench. When none was forthcoming, Okada turned to walk off the field and told reporters the two-time defending champs lacked class.
“They’ve won two straight pennants? You’d think they’d act like it,” Okada said.
To be fair, that might not have been his sentiment, because the Tigers media are famous for winding Hanshin skippers and players up and then reporting their comments out of context.
The only apology that made news after the incident came from Yakult’s longtime stadium DJ, Patrick Yu, @810pat, who said he failed to comprehend the damage done to Chikamoto’s ribs, and announced to the crowd when Yamamoto finished the inning without a run, “Nice pitching Yamamoto” and said he felt awful about it afterward and apologized on his twitter.com account.