Yu Darvish: 10 Keys to Rangers' Signing Becoming a Superstar in MLB
The Texas Rangers recently invested over 100 million dollars in a 25-year-old pitcher from Japan named Yu Darvish. This definitely isn't the first time a baseball team has invested in a pitcher from overseas and the Rangers want to make sure that Darvish pans out better than his predecessors.
Darvish has a tough road ahead with high expectations, but he could become the next superstar in the majors.
Control Family Life
While Yu was in Japan, his family life was very open. He married actress Saeko Dokyu at the age of 20. All eyes were on them.
Yu Darvish is finishing up a divorce from his now ex-wife. The couple had two young boys together. I'm not a parent but I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that it's going to be a little bit rough on Darvish leaving his sons in Japan.
Darvish is going to have to control his emotions as they pertain to his family and let his performance be a tribute to his boys at home in Japan.
Continue to Train Vigorously
Darvish (who is only half Japanese) doesn't follow all customs of the culture. When the Rangers introduced him he showed up wearing a controversial t-shirt. He was caught smoking underage in Japan. There are a number of stories that highlight Darvish's rebellious attitude.
The Japanese are often known for their obsession with hard work and that is one tradition that Darvish has honored. Darvish doesn't shy away from work and can't start to when he gets to the states. He'll be pitching on less rest and in tougher weather conditions than he's accustomed to. His body will have to be in top physical shape.
When Darvish began his professional career he was around 175 pounds. He now holds 225 on a 6-foot 5-inch frame. His continued commitment to conditioning will be vital to his success as a Major League ballplayer.
Be a Part of the Team
When Ron Washington took over as manager, he changed the culture of the team. They are about situational hitting, impervious defense and solid pitching. It sounds simple enough but they have also figured out that teamwork wins ballgames.
The Rangers are a team in every sense of the word. There isn't one player on the roster who is introverted and doesn't participate. There isn't a bigger name than the one on the front of their jersey. Their claw and antler hand signals were a show of their togetherness much like Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" last year. After they've clinched all of their playoff series they've celebrated with Ginger Ale because of Josh Hamilton's addiction issues. They weren't going to let anyone be left out of what they accomplished as a team.
Darvish has to make sure that he tries to be part of the team. People are going to play jokes on him and he's going to have to joke back. If Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland want to hold him down and give him an Indian Rub Burn he needs to get up, shake it off and laugh.
Embrace the Fans
The Rangers' recent success has caused an exponential growth in the fan base. Before 2010, when the Rangers were typically out of the division race by August and the Cowboys are getting started with their preseason OTA's and workouts, the Metroplex became pretty lukewarm to the Rangers.
Now in October, fans chant for the Rangers in the Cowboys' stadium. The Rangers' fans have suddenly begun to live and die by the team. It's been great for ticket sales and revenue, obviously.
The last thing fans need is a C.J. Wilson import. No one cared or believed that Wilson was a knife fighter, could land a 757 or had 3 iPads. Darvish doesn't need his Twitter to become a topic of discussion. He needs to embrace the fans, be humble and win games. That isn't too much to ask is it?
There is going to be national attention on every game this year but Darvish needs to make sure he is keeping the Texas fans happy first.
Shut Down Pujols
Albert Pujols was the biggest name this offseason. He'll be the biggest signing. When it's all said and done he may be considered the best baseball player to step foot on Earth.
Darvish will get to see plenty of Pujols in 2012. If he can find a way to shut him down, people will take notice. All eyes will be on the Rangers and Angels rivalry this year. Barring anymore signings or trades (I wouldn't count the Rangers out of anything), Pujols and Darvish will be the highest profile players during their first series.
Keeping Pujols guessing and looking like a fool at the plate (if that's possible) would propel Darvish into stardom.
I'm going to state the obvious and say that Major League hitters are better than the ones in Japan. Yu Darvish is going to have to continue to adapt and grow his game to keep up with the pace of American baseball.
Darvish needs to continue to be a student of the game. He has developed more pitches already in his young career. He'll need to continue to improve.
He was criticized for "nibbling" earlier in his career and he can't do that in Texas. His strikeout rate went up in 2011 showing that he has become more aggressive with hitters recently. He'll also have an All-Star infield behind him in Texas. The confidence in his team should help him go after hitters.
Ron Washington is one of the most respected members of the Rangers organization. The fans love him and the players have bought in to his philosophy.
Darvish, among many other things, will have to get used to a new managing style. The Rangers will surely handle things differently than the Fighters did.
As long as Darvish respects Washington's choices, he'll remain in the good graces of the fans. Ron may have some unorthodox managing styles, but Texas loves him for it.
Beat the Yankees
The Yankees are the most polarizing team in baseball. They may be the most polarizing team in sports. Everyone either loves them or loves to hate them.
When I was younger, some of my favorite games were when we played New York. I couldn't stand them and even if the Rangers were out of the division race, beating the Yankees was a big deal. That may speak more to their talent than anything, but I always loved the Rangers beating the Yankees.
Darvish needs to become a Yankee killer. Owning that team would put him in the favor of not only Rangers fans, but anyone who believes in good and doesn't root for the pinstripes.
Fans are going to fall in love with a kid who has a good sense of humor. Darvish's wardrobe upon arrival in Texas was hilarious.
During his press conference he told Jon Daniels that the right field wall was way too close and they needed to move it back. Funny. He needs be a kid and joke around with the media at the appropriate time.
Ichiro is a reserved enough guy that people only know him for his play. If he were more outgoing he'd be a bigger American star.
Chances are that Darvish just quietly fits in (or attempts to with 30 cameras following him around), but if he can be a media charmer he'll be a star.
This is pretty obvious.
If Darvish can win games with an ERA even close to what he had in Japan he'll be a superstar. You can take out every other slide in this show if he can just win.
Everyone has their opinion on how he'll do but we'll see soon enough what he can do. Darvish has a chance to be the Rangers ace for a number of years to come. If he can win for them in the playoffs and they can win the World Series that has eluded them the last two years, Darvish will be the hero.