“Due to this injury, I feel very sorry, and at the same time, very disappointed, to have let my teammates down” … “I will do my best to fully recover and return to the field to help my team once again.”
… Hideki Matsui
May 15, 2006 Press Release
After Surgery To Repair Left Wrist
On May 11, 2006, in a game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Hideki Matsui broke his left wrist on an attempt to make a diving catch in left field. This great effort resulted in surgery to repair Hideki’s damaged wrist that kept him on the disabled list for most of the 2006 season, and, also, ended Matsui’s 1,768 consecutive games playing streak [1,250 with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, and 518 with the Yankees].
That injury, and apology in 2006, was the first thing that came to mind when it became official that Hideki Matsui had signed a one-year, $6.5 million contract to play for the L.A. Angels in 2010.
The tremendous level of “respect” Matsui always had for the Yankees and Baseball was repayed with a great level of “disrespect” by the Yankees braintrust when they did not re-sign him, and basically just let him walk away from the team.
It is interesting, 2006 was the last year Bernie Williams played for the Yankees, receiving the same disrespect that Matsui experienced from the Yankees organization.
Williams wanted to return to the Bronx for at least another year at a reported bargain rate of $1 million plus incentives; but, for unknown reasons, Bernie was not re-signed by the Yanks. Even though Williams did not retire or look for another team to play for at the time, his baseball career sadly ended at the end of the ’06 season.
Hideki Matsui was the perfect Yankee. And, the word “respect” has to always be associated with Mr. Matsui.
“I would like to thank Joe Torre from the bottom of my heart for having been considerate of my consecutive games played streak these past several years and placing me in the lineup every day”, said, Matsui, in his press statement in May 2006.
Of course, a year later at the end of the 2007 season, Manager Joe Torre also fell victim to disrespectful treatment by the Yankees organization. After leading the Yankees to 12 straight post season appearances, including six American League Championships, and four World Championships, Mr. Torre was only offered a one-year, incentive-laden deal — lame-duck status — when Torre felt he had earned at least a two-year contract offer to continue managing the Bronx Bombers. Torre turned down the one-year deal, and accepted the L.A. Dodgers managerial position.
To be fair, I understood at the time some of the New York Yankees braintrust concerns about Joe Torre returning as manager in 2008; and, there certainly were valid points on both sides of this issue. In the end though, I do think the Yankees should have offered Mr. Torre a two-year deal at the same rate [per year] he earned in 2007.
“It’s all about responsibility — what he [Matsui] thinks his responsibility is to the team and the organization, because the Yankees committed to him and he feels it’s a two-way street in that regard … He has done it before here, when he’s made an error and came up and apologized to me.” … [Joe Torre, commenting after Matsui’s ’06 press statement].
At the end of the 2008 season, the New York Yankees braintrust continued their streak of disrespect by not re-signing Bobby Abreu. I have written about, and made many comments voicing my displeasure regarding the Abreu move. The decision to let Abreu walk away from the the Yankees was “very wrong” as witnessed by the great year Bobby had for the Angels in 2009 — a MVP season for his new team.
Now, after blasting a grand slam in his first game at Yankee Stadium; and arching a deep shot into the outfield seats at the Tokyo Dome when the Yankees played in Japan a few yeras ago; and, finally, his most dramatic heroics, winning the 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui will be joining Bobby Abreu in 2010 as a member of the AL West winning L.A. Angels.
The city of Los Angeles is becoming New York [Yankees] West …
* Bobby Abreu
* Hideki Matsui
* Joe Torre
* Don Mattingly
* Larry Bowa
And, also, to add to the disrespect, it was reported on Thursday, December 17th, that the Yankees signed the injury-prone Nick Johnson to a one-year, $5.75 million contract, to be their designated hitter next year.
Hideki Matsui for Nick Johnson !!! …
Not a good deal [at all] for the New York Yankees in my book !!!
So, I guess the “Circle of Life” in Major League Baseball is really just a “Pattern of Disrespect” that can all be summed up as “The Business of Baseball” !!!
Sad … really sad !!!
— Jimmy, “BY&L” – “Baseball, The Yankees, and Life”