Long road to Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs' Naoto Masamoto
Chicago Cubs video coordinator Naoto Masamoto overcame poor English ability through effort and has earned a lifetime of experience in American baseball.

This is a favorite story of mine of one of the many interesting Japanese people I’ve met from going to the baseball winter meetings the past five years. Naoto Masamoto is now the Chicago Cubs’ video coordinator, but he’s done a lot, lot more.

Naoto Masamoto thought his baseball career was over after he finished high school in Japan, but he made the most of his father’s business move to America to launch a career that took him to the major leagues.

“Not good. Not good at all,” Masamoto said of his English ability went he went abroad with his dad to the States. “I had one American kid on my little league team, maybe that helped. Maybe not.”

In order to pursue a career as an athletic trainer, Masamoto attended the University of Massachusetts, and when he found out they had a baseball program, he restarted his career on the field.

“I just walked into the coach’s office,” he said.

And asked if he could play.

“Yep. That was pretty much it.”

Read the full story at the Japan Times.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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