Hello, Kitty: Japanese Teen Girl to Pitch in Arizona
I saw this on the Facebook feed of Ballpark Digest
: the Yuma Scorpions
of the Arizona Winter League have signed Japan's first professional female baseball player to sling a few stateside.
Eri Yoshida is a 17-year-old sidearm pitcher with a knuckleball so slow it makes clocks run backward. She's 5'1" and Tim Wakefield (natch) is her hero.
"We are really looking forward to having Eri in the league and as a member of the Yuma Scorpions in the upcoming AWL," said Yuma Scorpions manager Mike Marshall. "It's an intense month of baseball, a great showcase, and an exceptional opportunity for any player to improve their game and move to the next level. Having played in Japan with Nippon Ham Fighters in the 1990s, I'm thrilled to be able to return the wonderful hospitality that I received and help Eri further her dream."
[Our Sports Central]
Overseas branding opportunity for Eri? Publicity stunt for the Scorpions? Legitimate interest? Maybe a little bit of all three. But there's something enjoyable about watching this guy whiff as this ball drifts across the plate like a seed from a cottonwood tree. I also like how she makes a hand motion in her follow-through that actually looks like she's pulling a string.
Video courtesy of FanDome
That, and I always get a really trippy feeling when I see Japanese mascots. It's a natural narcotic.