Masahiro Tanaka has needed time to gain experience pitching against American hitters, but he has not needed time to learn to “pitch” to the American media. Tanaka made his debut in the American media in the March 31 edition of Sports Illustrated, one of America’s well-known magazine companies. The headline displays, “New No. 1″. As we know, Tanaka is not the ace of the New York Yankees, yet. Sports Illustrated is not the only American media Tanaka will have to deal with this year.
The New York media is one of the toughest groups of people in the media industry to deal with. Just ask athletes such as, Alex Rodriguez, Carmelo Anthony, or Eli Manning. All of these are high-profile athletes who play in New York. All of them have had their scuffles with the media. Lucky for the media, Tanaka’s English is not very strong. This does not mean he cannot be furious with the media, but he probably just will not have much to say.
Most high-profile athletes coming from another country have media from their home country follow them to America. During Tanaka’s first press conference as a Yankee, there were as many Japanese reporters and photographers as there were American. Tanaka knows the hype he must live up to in both countries, so he should not pay attention to all the magazines and television sports media.
On Wednesday manager Joe Girardi stated that Tanaka will make his first regular season start as a New York Yankee against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4. This is the first of a three-game series in Toronto. The interesting fact about this scenario, is that Tanaka will make his first Major League regular season start outside of America in Canada. I know it is a little cliche, but it is the truth.
Tanaka will be featured in the media all year. Every city the Yankees travel to when Tanaka is scheduled to pitch, all the media and reporters will be focused on what he does. He is an unknown gem that people, especially the media, are still trying to find more information about. Once his first season is under his belt, the media around the country should die down, but not in New York. New York media is 24/7. If Tanaka can have success in New York, he can have success anywhere.