Takao Nakajima discusses Japanese interest in tonight's Yankees-Mariners
baseball game, which features two of Japan's most popular stars playing each
other for the first time in the US
April 29, 2003
Click here to listen.
CONAN, host: Tonight as the sun sets over the Bronx, tens 1) __________
thousands of Yankee fans will file into their seats 2) __________ cheer on their
team as they play 3) __________ the formidable Seattle Mariners. Both teams lead
their divisions in the 4) __________ League. If recent history is any proof, it
should be a 5) __________ good game.
us now to 11) __________ about
very much for joining us.
TAKAO NAKAJIMA (Correspondent, NHK TV): Hi.
A lot of members of the Japanese 12) __________
up there to cover this game?
NAKAJIMA: Yes. Actually, I'm in front of the Yankee Stadium right 13) __________
and there's tons of media; mostly Japanese media are 14) __________.
Now these two are the most famous baseball players from
NAKAJIMA: Yes, that's 17) __________. And they were both in a different league,
so they haven't really 18) __________ with each other in the
Now I think Ichiro played 20) __________
the Blue Wave, the Orix Blue Wave, and Matsui played for the Yomiuri Giants,
NAKAJIMA: That's correct. That's correct.
Now these two are very 21)
kinds of ballplayers, aren't they?
NAKAJIMA: Yes. Ichiro is more
of a speed and technique guy. As you know, he has 22) __________
the batting title two years ago as a rookie, and he has also won the American
League major league Most Valuable Player. But Matsui, on the contrary, he's more
of a 23) __________
guy. He hit 50 home runs and he's been producing a hundred-plus RBI every year,
and he's been hitting fourth on the Yomiuri Giants, which is considered to be
one of the most 24) __________
Now I understand this game is going to be 25) __________
NAKAJIMA: Yes. We are going to broadcast it in our station, and it's going
to be at
in the morning, Wednesday.
Now how many 26) __________
are going to be watching a game at that hour?
NAKAJIMA: Well, actually, it's a difficult question, but from yesterday,
That's a lot.
NAKAJIMA: Yes, that is a lot. Yes.
Now as you look at these ballplayers, there was a lot of concern when players as
popular and successful as Matsui and Ichiro
come to the
NAKAJIMA: Well, actually, the Japanese baseball has to really seriously
think about the, you know, future 30)
Matsui challenging of baseball was another warning for the Japanese baseball. We
have to produce a new kind of superstar. We have to draw a new type of the
baseball fan to the Japanese baseball. And that's the 31) __________
that the Japanese baseball has been working on for the last two or three years.
Now of these two ballplayers, Ichiro
has already won the Most Valuable Player award here in the States, as you
mentioned. Is he 32)
__________ popular than Matsui?
NAKAJIMA: Actually, it's hard to explain, but Hideki Matsui was from the
most 33) __________ team in
NAKAJIMA: ...in the popularity.
Well, thanks very much, and good luck with your broadcast tonight.
NAKAJIMA: Thank you very much.
That was Takao Nakajima, an on-air correspondent for
Man: (Singing) Ichiro, Ichiro,
Ichiro, Ichiro, Ichiro,
Ichiro, Ichiro, Ichiro,
of music; gong)
You're listening to TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.
1. What's the difference in Matsui and Ichiro's baseball styles?
2. Why are many people in Japan able to watch the game on TV?
3. Why are people worried about players like Ichiro and Matsui going to the US to play baseball?