Today we put on our final youth clinic of this incredible trip and it was one of my favorite days because it took place in Kiyoto, the hometown of my friend, Sachio Kinugasa, the Japanese “Iron Man”.
I first met Sachio in 1996. He held the world record for consecutive games played and about a year after I passed Lou Gehrig’s record, I passed Mr. Kinugasa’a mark. I did it in Kansas City against the Royals and he came over from Japan and attended the game. It was wonderful that he was there and after that game we shared stories and formed a bond.
He has been with us this entire trip and I have very much enjoyed getting to know him better and discussing our streaks and our motivation for being there, ready to play for our team for all of those games in a row.
Today was his day and he led the clinic, helped me hand out Under Armour gift bags to the kids, took me on a tour of the Kiyoto Baseball Hall of Fame where he is immortalized and then he and I sat down for a one on one interview with the Asahi Shimbun, one of the largest and most prestigious newspapers in the world.
In addition, the subject of women playing baseball was a focus today. We had a couple of little girls take part in the clinic and I threw out the first pitch at the start of a Japanese Girls Professional League game. It was a lot of fun and the girls were terrific ballplayers. I told the local press that I very much liked the idea of girls competing and playing the game just like the boys and they should play as long as they enjoy it and for as long as they can compete.
I will be sorry to see the trip come to an end in a couple of days but I am happy with the way things went and the fact that we were able o meet so many kids and spread the word about the remarkable and strong Japanese people.
Thanks again for following along. We will have one more blog before we come back home.