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Masahiro Tanaka apologizes for being hurt

Jul 11, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

Masahiro Tanaka Getty Images

This is somewhat remarkable. And maybe better explained by cultural differences than, say, manners, because my God who ever expects an injured player to apologize? I mean, at least if he didn’t get injured from tomfoolery instead of bad luck.

But that’s what Tanaka has done, in a statement he released a few minutes ago:


“As recently announced from the team, I will be going through some treatment and rehab on my injured elbow over the next several weeks. I give everything I have every time I take the ball. With that, I also know that there will always be a risk of injury when playing this game that I love. Right now I feel that the most important thing for me is to keep my head up, remain focused on the task at hand and devote all my energy into healing the injury in order to come back strong.

“I want to apologize to the Yankees organization, my teammates and our fans for not being able to help during this time. I accept this injury as a challenge, but I promise to do everything I can to overcome this setback and return to the mound as soon as possible.”

Um, we forgive you?

Dude, get better soon. You’re way too cool not to be pitching.

  1. realgone2 - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    That guy is a trooper.

    • SocraticGadfly - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      A kudo to him, and also, in another sport, to LBJ. Class will eventually show through.

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      Yeah this guy rocks. Go Tanaka. Great pitcher, seems like a cool guy too. And his girlfriend is cute.

      • Ayase Yano - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:04 PM

        Not “girlfriend”… He and Satoda Mai are already married.

      • asimonetti88 - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        Right on… nice work Masahiro.

      • Ayase Yano - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:09 PM


        Couldn’t help it.

      • Old Gator - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        Tell you what, though, Yano – if he hadn’t been so thoroughly corrupted by American culture by now, the honorable thing to do would be to pull a Mishima – call a press conference, deliver a rousing speech about restoring Yankee pride, then go sit out by the monuments and commit seppuku. Kuroda could be his second….

    • amaninwhite - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:33 AM

      The Twins are waiting for Nolasco to do the same thing.

  2. jss1330 - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    He doesn’t sound sincere enough

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:23 PM


      that was sarcasm…

      the poster above LIKED what Tanka did…

      • jimeejohnson - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:18 AM

        I missed it. Thanks sportsfan!

  3. randygnyc - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Class act.

  4. goskinsvt - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    It’s a Japanese thing to apologize like this, definitely cultural. That said, doesn’t make it any less classy. Hoping for a speedy recovery.

    • renaado - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Correct, couldn’t have said it better. NPB players apologizes to fans everytime when an injury happens to them… He’s apologizing to fans not just in the US but also to his supporters back in Japan. Players definitely have heart and always care for their fans.

      • Ayase Yano - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:14 PM

        I really need to question your nationality here… If you don’t mind.

      • renaado - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:23 PM

        Let’s just say I’m from Asia… Just like you, however I don’t live in Japan but studied the way on how they approach or play the game through videos and books related to it… I’ve been studying their game “yakyu” for 4 years now already. So I know the personality of these players when playin the game.

      • Ayase Yano - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:47 PM

        I see, that alone is enough… No wonder your statement were somewhat accurate when it comes to Japanese players and Yakyu.

        (好哦那天哦你 啊日噶头…)

      • gloccamorra - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:21 PM

        Yes, it’s cultural, but in the U.S. there are ramifications. The Chairman of Toyota did the same thing, issuing an apology over the unintended acceleration that was really operator error, and found there are legal consequences, like an assumed admission of guilt.

  5. twinfan24 - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    I don’t like the Yankees as a general rule, but hard to not like/respect Tanaka.

  6. chacochicken - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    How traditionally Japanese. Maybe he can find a lookalike to pitch in his place like Kagemusha? The Battle of Nagashino might be an accurate analog for the Yankees’ season.

    • Old Gator - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

      Heh, heh….nicely turned, Clucks.

  7. sdelmonte - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Pondering the irony of how many insincere apologies we’ve seen over the years from athletes, often combined with a failure to actually accept responsibility for what they’ve done. This is the opposite in every way. It’s cultural, but it also feels like it’s totally sincere. We need more of that.

  8. edelmanfanclub - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Really humble guy, wish him the best.

  9. mikhelb - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Same thing happened when Hideki Matsui broke his wrist and apologized for that because he felt he was letting down the franchise and the Yankees fans. It is a contrast with so many players who fake injuries to avoid playing in the final weeks of a season when their team has no playoff hopes.

    • geoknows - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:06 PM

      Also Twins shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka when he broke his ankle three years ago. First thing he did was apologize to everyone he let down.

      • undeadjesus - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        Did he ever apologize for his horrendous play?

    • Old Gator - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      When I dropped my Matsui bobblehead on the cement floor of the Shoji bazaar and broke it, the head apologized for rolling away.Yes, it is definitely a cultural thing.

  10. indaburg - Jul 11, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    This is definitely a cultural difference. In Japan, to apologize is a sign of good manners. He’s not necessarily contrite, nor should he be–he has no reason to be. In this case, it’s more of a way of acknowledging that he feels he’s letting people down. It was very kind of him to offer it.

  11. syphermce - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    This just goes to show how much respect and love for the game Tanaka has. I’m sure he realized, just like everyone else, how important he is to the Yankees rotation and the team in general. Really hope he’s not going to need TJS and be out for the next year and a half.

  12. lukedunphysscienceproject - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    When I was a competitive athlete, I always felt remorse when I got hurt and couldn’t be on the field fighting with my teammates. Not that I thought I had done anything wrong, just a general feeling that I was letting my team mates down somehow. I don’t think there was anything special about me, I think just about everyone I played with would have felt the same way.

    We seem to have engineered this self awareness out of athletes now. They seem so self absorbed that it doesn’t appear that they even give a passing thought to the impact that their absence is causing the team. “I’ll come back when I’m ready” seems to a more and more popular stance. Understandable, I suppose, even laudable in certain cases, but definitely different from what I grew up with.

    Whatever the reason or whatever the motivation, I applaud Tanaka’s comments.

  13. thomas844 - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Geez, most players would just be like, “Am I still getting paid?”

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      he better be after spending like $150K to rent out the ENTIRE plane for just his family and him to fly over for spring training…

      couldn’t fly with regular folks on JAL…

      • yahmule - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Why do you care what he does with his money? Maybe he wanted to celebrate with his friends and family and not have to endure a 14 hour flight besieged by well wishers.

      • Ayase Yano - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:36 PM


        The reason why he does that is because of heavy snowfall during that time, not to mention he was stuck in a traffic jam heading to Tokyo airport… Commercial airlines used by passengers where canceled too cause of it resulting probably in an only option he has left, and that’s to take the Jet.

        And please… that’s 195K not 150, 20,000,000 yen estimated roughly.

  14. Uncle Charlie - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    I am honored to accept your waste.

    • bruceeff - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      You honor me with your Simpsons reference.

  15. markofapro - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    I was hoping I would never have to qualify my sincere disdain for the Yankees after Jeter left. Apparently, after Jeter leaves, I have to say, “I hate the Yankees except for Tanaka.”

  16. zinger99 - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:44 PM

    Very respectful of the game. Unlike many Russian and European hockey players who only give their best when things are going their way.

  17. Ayase Yano - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Not surprising in anyway.

  18. drewzducks - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    In a related story, Alex Rodriguez is suing Masahiro Tanaka for plaigarism.

  19. bronxbomber213 - Jul 11, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    No!!! We appologize for you haveing to be on this team of scrubs in your first year here!!! You were the only thing that was exciting on this “team” of overpaid pansies who couldn’t score any runs for you!

  20. bigjimatch - Jul 12, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    FYI, he is not the first player to feel bad about getting hurt, just the first to make such a big deal out of it.

  21. ch0psuey - Jul 12, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    He should also apologize for signing with the Yankees

  22. jimeejohnson - Jul 12, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    The great John Wayne never apologized. He said it was a sign of weakness. Wayne was a staunch right winger.

  23. zinger99 - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:59 AM

    John Wayne wasn’t a man,but he played one in the movies.

    • gloccamorra - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      John Wayne had seven children, so he played a man VERY well.

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