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Note: Hideki Matsui's cameo comes at the 36:41 mark and lasts 25 seconds
In an era when nicknames have become decreasingly creative, one of the good ones came from Japan with slugger Hideki Matsui. Matsui, who recently retired after a successful run with the New York Yankees, earned the moniker "Godzilla" back home because he was a big, strong guy who hit home runs. The famous radiated lizard of popular culture in postwar Japan wasn't really into baseball — unless he was smashing a stadium to bits — so the analogy only goes so far.
But here's the thing, as C. Trent Rosecrans of CBS Eye on Baseball points out: Matsui actually appeared in the movie "Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla," the franchise's release in 2002. So we're not talking about a guy who was called "Godzilla" because it's the first thing many of us dopes think of when we think of Japan. This was organic. And Matsui is a man devoted to his namesake.
Here's how Japanese Baseball Cards described Matsui's cameo, which can be viewed for FREE on Crackle or in the above video:
The sequence that he's in starts at 0:36:41 and only lasts for about 30 seconds. It looks like he's doing a clinic with a bunch of kids at a ballpark near where Godzilla is coming ashore. When he hears the evacuation commands, he calls the kids off the field. One of the kids pitches a ball before running in, so Matsui swings and hits it a long way. He and the kids watch the military fly in Mechagodzilla, then he herds the kids out to safety.
Godzilla the ballplayer, protecting kids from Godzilla the beast, as a mechanical Godzilla is flown over Tokyo. Three Godzillas for the price of ... well, none. It's free! The best part, as with most Japanese monster movies, is the bad English dubbing.
Hopefully the next great ballplayer from Japan will come with another great nickname from the "B" movie scene — Gamera. Which ballplayers in the Nippon major leagues most fit the description of a flying, fire-breathing turtle that does gymnastics and loves children?