Says here we’ve been “dot-com” for 6 years now. Cool.
Anyway, I’m working on an interview with Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune (it’ll run on Monday), and one topic we discussed was potential surprises among Padres for 2008. The name that came up was new second baseman Tadahito Iguchi:
Iguchi had some problems with a finger injury early last year, and the White Sox were looking to save money. He’s a solid player, better than his stats of last summer would indicate.
When Lance and I visited Peoria a couple weeks ago, Iguchi kind of took us by surprise as well. Although he’s a compact guy, as I’ve mentioned previously, he really can drive the ball out to left and left-center. We’ll see how much of that is an artifact of the Arizona spring air, but after seeing Iguchi in person and talking to some folks, I’m starting to have a good feeling — in my usual guardedly optimistic way — about him.
The U-T, meanwhile, has a couple articles up about Iguchi. One talks about Iguchi’s childhood dreams to play in the North American big leagues, while the other focuses on his relationship with translator David Yamamoto.
Iguchi talks about coming to San Diego:
For me, it was very important to play in a city that would be right for my family. (Former Padre Akinori) Otsuka said San Diego is a good place.
My wife (Asumi) and daughter (Rio) moved into a home in San Diego in mid-February. My daughter is already in school. My family loves it there.
He also touches on the difference between spring training in Japan and on this side of the pond:
In Japan, spring is a military-style camp. It is a lot longer and every team has a goal . . . find a sense of unity. The whole team goes for early-morning walks and there are nightly meetings. The first two or three weeks, you work only on fundamentals.
The advantage of the American camps is that every facility has a lot of fields. Some players can be hitting while others are fielding. In Japan, there was only one field for each club.
Guess we’ll soon find out how justified our optimism is…