The Toronto Blue Jays had a big rally in the ninth inning on Sunday, and came from three runs behind to win in their final at bat with four runs. Afterwards was the traditional post-game interview on the field -- though it turned out to be anything but traditional.
The player in question is shortstop Munenori Kawasaki. As the Toronto Star wrote about him, "Kawasaki, a 31-year-old native of Aira, Kagoshima, Japan, did the improbable, and everyone in the park new it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person." Later, in referencing the post-game interview, they added, "It was incredibly cute, not something sports fans see every day."
No, it certainly wasn't. "Incredibly cute" is not the typical description of anything for professional sports.
By the way, for all the understandable attention that the enthusiastic, joyful Kawasaki has been getting (they've played this tape on ESPN for two days...), I think what's largely gone overlooked deserves notice is the other player.
So, to give him his due, it's Mark DeRosa, who became my favorite player when he was on the Chicago Cubs a few years ago. I said at the time that he was the best interview in sports. This video shows that he's the best interview even when he's not being interviewed. You'll notice that he does something rare for a sports interview -- or any interview. He's talking to the reporter, but then stops and says that they should be talking to Kawasaki instead, not him, and then goes and specifically pulls him in, on camera. And then after Kawasaki starts in on his roll, DeRosa cuts his own interview short and leaves Kawasaki alone to have the spotlight. Just part of the reason that the gracious Mark DeRosa, whose sense of perspective and awareness is part of what made him my fave, deserves mention, as well.
But it's Munenori Kawasaki who's the reason this video has gotten all the attention. It's worth noting too that TV sports reporters are trained to never give up the microphone. If they do, they know that they might never get it back, as the interviewee may well go off on a filibuster. Though as an ESPN anchor said, "Maybe they do things differently in Canada," known for its niceness. But then, who knows, maybe it's just Munenori Kawasaki who does things differently.
It's not a Major Interview. Fairly short. Just...well, incredibly cute. No wonder he's a fan and player favorite.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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