Masahiro Tanaka has a terrifying arsenal of pitches, great command of the strike zone and an arm that can handle an exhausting workload. Oh, and he can also beat celebrity chefs at a strike-throwing contest and make the whole thing rather entertaining.
Yahoo! Sports' David Brown spotted some recent videos featuring Tanaka enjoying appearances on Japanese television.
One cameo saw Tanaka tasked with cutting down a bunch of chefs in what looks like a game you might find at any carnival.
Simply, you toss the ball and knock down each and every numbered board. At least, that's what we gleaned from Brown's report as well as the video.
Not knowing Japanese, I would love to hear from anyone with a firm grasp of the language to explain what kind of quips caused laughter throughout the video.
Brown also found more footage of Tanaka hanging out with chefs and delving into some televised shenanigans. In the first video, you can see one chef make a reference to Yu Darvish, a Japanese pitcher who has found success in MLB, notching 277 strikeouts in his second year with the Texas Rangers.
The second video, posted below, features the Rakuten Eagles ace diving into piles of food to offer his own assessment. So if this whole pitching guff doesn't work out, he has a promo reel for his own food critique show. Hey, it's far less jarring that watching 30 minutes of Guy Fieri.
Of course, this is all just nonsense compared to what really matters. USA Today reports on the latest concerning Tanaka and the posting fee that seems to be holding up his joining the growing list of Japanese pitchers that have landed with MLB teams.
According to the report, Tanaka stated at a news conference, "I informed my team that I would like them to allow me to test my abilities in Major League Baseball next season."
At the heart of the issue is Rakuten officials wanting more than the $20 million posting fee that is caped under the new system, less than other teams received for the likes of Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The hope, for MLB fans, is things get worked out and Tanaka can find his way onto a big league roster, because we simply have to see him battle Mario Batali in some sort of athletic contest.
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