SAPPORO, Japan – Following a victory last season, Yu Darvish, the winning pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, stood in front of a microphone inside a packed stadium, thanked his teammates and fans for their support, and announced that he had knocked up an actress who he met three months earlier and would marry her to preserve his family's name.
The hero interview, as it's called, is standard postgame fare in Japanese baseball, made-for-TV junk food. Darvish had found a way to reinvent it. He does that with everything.
Newspapers across the country trumpeted the news with blown-up photos of Darvish. Even the trashiest rags sell when they splash him across their covers. Three years ago, one of them turned Darvish into Japan's most infamous teenager because of a cigarette. And now, at 21, he has been dubbed by all of them as the face of Japanese baseball.
So it comes as no surprise when the P.A. announcer summons Darvish for the hero interview on opening day last week. TheRead More »from Iconic ace Darvish pushes Japan's boundaries