And finally, the much anticipated major league debut of Japan’s Yu Darvish. At just 25 years old, Darvish came to the states with 7 years of Japanese professional ball under his belt.
Over 80 members of the Japanese media are in Arlington to cover the debut. I don’t understand Japanese all that well, but I believe they asked me to create this timeline.
7:06 – Darvish faces his first MLB batter in the regular season, Chone Figgins.
7:07 – The man with “incredible control” throws four straight balls to walk Figgins.
7:08 – A strike! Yay! A Japanese fan spills coffee on his keyboard with excitement! Or green tea maybe, or whatever.
7:09 – First strike out in the books! Dustin Ackley goes down on a nasty curveball after fouling off a few with a 2-2 count.
7:10 – Ichiro stands in. Work productivity in Japan is at an all-time low.
7:13 – Ichiro gonna Ichiro. After battling off a few, Ichiro dinks one into shallow left for a “clean” base knock.
7:15 – Darvish falls behind to Smoak 3-1 before Smoak lines a shot into right field. Bases juiced.
7:16 – Darvish popping the leather at around 96 MPH. Still can’t locate the plate, however.
7:18 – Kyle Seager (who?) smokes one into center, scoring Figgins and Ichiro. 2-0 Mariners.
7:20 – Darvish misses the plate, and his catcher, Mike Napoli, entirely. Hard to miss, that Napoli guy. Big fellow.
7:21 – Darvish is 31 pitches into a 1-man-down inning. Not how Yu expected it to go, right?
7:22 – Another walk issued. Bases are loaded once again.
7:23 – Olivo with a bloop over the glove of Kinsler, landing in shallow right and scoring another Mariner. 3-0.
7:24 – Kawasaki steps in. Japanese work productivity is low, once again. Not Ichiro-Darvish low, but still.
7:25 – Four pitch walk to Kawasaki, forcing in a run. 4-0, Mariners. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.
7:26 – Darvish ditches his baseball for a wiffle ball, proceeds to strike out Brendan Ryan with 3 straight off-speed pitches. Good call by Yu, as wiffle ball fastballs are not often effective.
7:27 – Darvish’s 42nd pitch is dealt and Figgins chases, leading to a ground out. First half inning is in the books.
7:28 – Darvish takes a seat in the Rangers’ dugout next to his interpreter, who is waiting for Yu alongside catcher Mike Napoli. The interpreter sarcastically introduces Napoli, informing Darvish that throwing the ball to Napoli’s mitt would likely be better than into the brick backstop.
First Inning Stat Line: 4 hits, 3 walks, 2 K’s, 4 earned runs.
Welcome to The Show, Mr. Darvish.