Hideki Matsui provides laugh track for reporters
Don't let that stoic look on his face fool you. Hideki Matsui, the Angels' new designated hitter, has a sense of humor. A very good one.
The Japanese slugger was supposed to make his exhibition debut with the Angels on Sunday against Oakland, but the game was rained out. Then on Tuesday, when Matsui was again slated to make his first spring appearance, a downpour delayed the game against San Diego for 30 minutes, and some began to wonder whether "Matsui" was Japanese for rain.
The drizzle eventually stopped, and the game was played, with Matsui striking out in his first at-bat and grounding a single to center field in his second at-bat before being pulled for pinch-hitter.
When asked if he thought the game would be rained out again, Matsui, speaking through an interpreter, said, "I guess the chances looked slim ... but had it been canceled, I'm sure in the team meeting tomorrow Mike Scioscia would have called me 'The Guy Who Brought the Rain.' "
Matsui, who holds press conferences every day with the large contingent of Japanese media that follows him and scrutinizes his every move, was asked what is more difficult, hitting or trying to come up with something different for the Japanese media each day.
"I've been doing both for the last 20 years or so," Matsui said. "They're about the same."
With 30 to 40 Japanese media members waiting outside the team's clubhouse to talk to Matsui, he was asked one more question at the end of a 10-minute interview with American reporters: "What will the Japanese media ask that we didn't?"
Replied Matsui: "Maybe what kind of underwear I'm wearing."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.