Japan’s Masahiro Tanaka edges TV chefs in wacky strike-throwing contest

David Brown
Big League Stew

Hat tip to Patrick Newman of NBP Tracker for keeping watch on the Masahiro Tanaka front. There's no resolution to his posting status yet, despite what media outlet Sanspo reported in Japan on Monday. He wants to pitch here, but Rakuten, his team in Japan, is hesitant to let him go because of the $20 million cap in fees it would receive if a Major League Baseball team signs him. It has not granted him permission as we said Sanspo said. So, while we wait to see if Tanaka coming to North America this offseason, we can entertain ourselves with seemingly random TV appearances Tanaka has made at home.

He appears to have a fun personality, particularly in the video above from the TV variety show "SMAPxSMAP," in which he competes against chefs in a strike-throwing contest. No #spoilers, but let's just say the contest, surprisingly, goes down to the last toss probably because Tanaka was putting a lot of pressure on himself to beat a collection of chefs.

In an earlier segment, it appears Tanaka and the bow-tied host are referencing Yu Darvish. To what end, only someone fluent in Japanese knows. Tanaka seems to be having a fun time, overall, mostly because the chefs appear to be funny. You'll just have to take their word!

Earlier in the show, the chefs competed against each other by making a meal for Tanaka, who acts as a one-man Iron Chef panel and declares which dish is tastiest. It looks like they made him scrambled eggs with beets. Is that a delicacy in Japan? Here's part one of his appearance. And here's part two. You'd think they'd want to start with the throwing contest and end with eating but whatever.

And then there's this song-and-dance number with the Real McCoy of Japan:

Is this what they think Jimmy Fallon does in America? We don't exploit our athletes in this way nearly enough in here. Maybe a Conan O'Brien, once in a while.

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David Brown is an editor and a Secret Santa for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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