Hiroki Kuroda has passed a physical this morning and will be introduced tomorrow as the newest member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The signing has been speculated and anticipated for quite some time and seems to be a perfect fit, as it did not require the club to give up any of the young talent that has fans so excited about 2008.
As most of you know, there is a very long history between the Dodgers and Japan dating back to the team’s days in Brooklyn. It sounds like the popularity of the Dodgers as well as Kuroda’s respect for Takashi Saito and the supportive Japanese community in Los Angeles had a lot to do with his decision to join the Dodgers over the other teams that coveted him — some reports have that number as high as 20 Major League teams.
I probably speak for many baseball fans when I say that I’m excited for the talk around the game of baseball to return to the field. The Mitchell Report will have a lasting place in baseball history but I’d like to think that as an industry, we can and should accept our mistakes and continue to welcome the changes that have been made over the past few years to maintain the game’s integrity.
I’m looking forward to the day this year when Kuroda gives us eight strong innings and Saito finishes the game with a save, a fist pump and his trademark smile.
I’m sure I’ll write more tomorrow after the news conference.