Angels pitcher Hisanori Takahashi deals with survivor's guilt after earthquake in Japan
Hisanori Takahashi admits he is experiencing a severe case of survivor's guilt. While his countrymen in Japan are reeling from the effects of a devastating earthquake and tsunami, which killed thousands, wiped out entire towns and has thrown the nation into a nuclear crisis, the veteran left-hander is in spring-training camp with the Angels, enjoying the relative tranquility of Arizona.
"That's what I'm feeling right now," Takahashi said through a translator. "Fortunately, I am a survivor, but it hurts, of course. It has definitely been difficult to focus on baseball, but as a baseball player, I have to play baseball."
Takahashi, who signed a two-year, $8-million deal with the Angels in December, has been doing that extremely well so far, allowing no runs and three hits in his five innings of work this spring. But when he's away from the park, the reliever's focus is no longer on baseball.
Takahashi, whose family members and friends survived the earthquake and tsunami, has been watching television virtually all evening, every night, as the drama from Japan unfolds on various news networks.
"When I heard the news and saw the videos, I was shocked, surprised, I couldn't believe it," Takahashi said. "Seeing all the footage, you get a little numb, but it's a real thing. I have to keep my eye on the tragedy, but I also have to play baseball here."
Takahashi said he is planning to organize some kind of fundraiser, perhaps involving his teammates, to aid victims of the earthquake and tsunami.
"I have to do something for them," he said. "I send my condolences to all the people in Japan and hope things get better soon. We need some kind of good news from there."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Tempe, Ariz.
Photo: Hisanori Takahashi. Credit: Norm Hall / Getty Images