Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sometimes, Nice Guys Finish First

Hideki Matsui is a good guy. Always has been, always will be.

When he signed with the Yankees, he was asked why he was called Godzilla. Was it because he was Japanese. he replied, No, because he was ugly.

Self-deprecating and hard-working, that's Matsui.

After playing 519 straight games, Matsui broke his wrist diving for a ball. When he couldn't play due to the injury, Matsui took out an ad in the local papers, apologizing to Yankee fans that he couldn't play for a while.

There was never a controversy within a mile of Matsui. His teammates loved him and would play practical jokes on him, and he would play one back. He just wanted to play. And he wanted to bring a championship to the Yankees.

It definitely bothered him that for years, he was unable to get the Yankees the ring he was supposed to bring.

But it was in his last year with the Yankees, he not only won one, he was the MVP of the series, batting .615 and hitting 3 HRs in the Series.

And during the ring ceremony yesterday at Yankee Stadium, he was paid back in kind.

Introduced as the returning hero he is, Yankee Stadium cheered like it was the trip down Caynon of Heroes again. And then, his former teammates surrounded him, paying their respects smothering him with hugs and high-fives. You can watch it here.

For a man as dignified, as demurring and as humble as Matsui, that must have touched him very deeply. Maybe even more than the ring he eventually got.

Overall, it was a fine day for Yankeedom and for Hideki Matsui, who finally got the ring he long quested for, and he will be remembered for doing it with class and grace.

Sometimes, nice guys really do finish first.

2 comments:

Pete S said...

I just wish the Yankees could have found a way to keep him. That's what he really deserved.

Ted said...

That was a great moment, not only the ovation during introductions, but when Pettite stepped off the mound to allow the fans to give him his due when he was at the plate.