April 30, 2014,18:35 +0900(JST) Keep It Up, Ma-kun!
Masahiro Tanaka, a baseball pitcher affectionately called “Ma-kun” by many fans in Japan, is coming off a successful season in the New York Yankees.
Our Itami Works is close to the elementary school where Mr. Tanaka began his baseball life. I heard that some of our staff members were acquainted with him when he was a child. I also heard that he, as an elementary school student, inscribed a nameplate for a tree in Koyaike Park next to the Works. As Itami is the starting point of my own career, I am proud that the city produced such a great hero and very happy for him and his success.
These days, many sport players across the ocean being expected to demonstrate superior performance in the local leagues. However, what will await them is not just enthusiastic praise. Exposed to daily fierce competition with top-notch players from all over the world, they will be harshly criticized by both the vigilant mass media and ardent fans when they cannot generate the desired results. At the risk of receiving such treatment, these athletes have chosen to try their hand in the world’s most prestigious leagues. I would like to applaud these young people for their ambitious efforts.
For these athletes (as well as for ourselves), good health is a key priority. I hope that they will take care not to become injured and demonstrate their fullest capacities before the world.