Warren Cromartie recently met with subscribers to talk about his experiences in the majors and in Japan and share his opinions on a variety of topics from “insensitive” comments by former Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather to baseball in Montreal and new Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura.
Have a listen. If you want to take part in one of the live chats, you need to join jballallen.com on either a free or paid subscription.
Slugging it out in Japan, again
For the last two years, Cromartie has been living in Japan with his wife and child, and spent much of the 2019 season as an on-field advisor to the Giants.
Getting by in a foreign language
Asked about former Mariners CEO Kevin Mather’s candid comments about service-time manipulation and his characterization of players by their language skills, Cromartie talked about the challenges of playing in a country where many don’t speak your language.
Lost in translation?
On-field celebrations can be a tricky subject for MLB players, but in Japan they are welcomed by fans and part of the scenery. So when former major leaguers get in the act there is sometime friction.
Japanese fans customarily cheer the players who drove in runs in the previous half inning as they take the field, upon which the players respond by tipping their caps, bowing or waving. Cromartie tells how his response became one of his trademarks.
Going to America
Asked about Japan stars back in the day that he thought could play in America. Of course prior to free agency, players couldn’t go during their career. And until Hideo Nomo proved otherwise, the prevailing belief both here and in the majors was that Japanese weren’t good enough.
Sawamura goes to the Sox
During his time with the Giants, Cromartie became familiar with right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, who recently signed with the Boston Red Sox.
Making adjustments in a new country
Everybody goes to Nicks…
…to paraphrase the line from “Casablanca.” On those few nights a year when all of NPB’s teams were in town, the imported players would all gather at Nicola’s Pizzeria in Roppongi, whose owner, Nick Zapetti, was the intriguing anti-hero of Robert Whiting’s “Tokyo Underworld.”
“There used to be two foreign players on a team. There would be times when all the teams would be in Tokyo at the same time, about two times a year, and we would all meet up at Nicks, this pizza place in Roppongi. It was like a brotherhood. We couldn’t wait to all get together. Whenever we played each other during the season, we’d always go out to dinner. We’d get the chance to see two other foreigners, the four of us would go out to dinner.”–Greg “Boomer” Wells
Here’s what Crow had to say about those nights.
Bring back the Expos
On baseball in Montreal, it’s history and its future.
Should kids from America go straight to Japan?
Crow on conformity
Conformity is certainly a topic in Japan. Do all Japanese play the same way? I’m not convinced but there are times when watching a series of NPB at-bats is like a video representation of those “Can you spot the 10 differences” picture puzzles.
Ok. This time’s it’s Cromartie’s turn to talk about Sadaharu Oh.
That’s a hit in Double-A rookie
Cromartie talks about his rookie debut with the Expos against the then power Pittsburgh Pirates.
Is Japan’s hustle for show?
The balance of power in Japan
Cromartie expresses his views on the differences between Japan’s two leagues.
Giants manager Tatsunori Hara this year brought former ace Masumi Kuwata onto his staff as a pitching coach, and Cromartie couldn’t be happier.