USA TODAY Sports
Just when we were starting to worry about losing the players that made the 2012 A's so watchable, along comes a new player with a style all his own.
If you haven't yet watched Hiroyuki Nakajima's press conference with Billy Beane, watch it. No seriously, watch it. You know all the things we liked about the 2012 Oakland Athletics? (You know, besides the winning, the Division title, the playoffs and all?) We had the pie, the rage dancing, the Call Me Maybe break, the Bernie lean, the McCarthy's Twitter accounts, and the other colorful touches that made the A's far more entertaining than your average baseball team, and it looks like 2013 is shaping up to be more of the same.
Hilariously, Nakajima opened and closed his conference in English; with these quotes:
"Hi Oakland, my name is Hiroyuki Nakajima, but you can call me Hiro. I am honored to be here today. Thank you very much, Mr. Beane."
(Insert obligatory, "Hi Hiro!" here. Is it a sign that his regular nickname is so ridiculously perfect for baseball? Foreshadowing AN gamethread wrap-up titles to come this year?)
"I will do my best for the team, but I also want to do the 'Bernie Dance' with Oakland."
C'mon, how fun is that? We have a thing in Oakland now. It's not all, "Hey, come play in Oakland, even though no one wants to because of a long list of reasons, none of them the teams' fault." It's more like, "Did you hear about what happened in 2012? Oakland is the place to be. You'll play good baseball, be adored by fans, and get to dance!"
Nakajima said the reputation of the A's team chemistry was a factor in his signing.
"I heard a lot about it," he said. "Part of the reason they made it to the postseason was team chemistry, youth and energy. I'm fascinated and excited to be part of that."
How important do you think the chemistry is to the A's squad? Do they play as well without the gimmicks, the dances, the excited crowd? Or is that particular intangible one worth exploring--and nurturing--in the upcoming season, as well?
Side note: More than two months after the fact, does it still feel like a dream that the A's actually won the West? I listen to all the MLB channels talking about the Rangers and the Angels, and it's pretty funny that they all have to stop and say things like, "But, of course, both of these teams still have to beat out the Oakland A's, the reigning Division champions", and there's always that pause, where you almost hear them saying, "And how in the hell they did that, I still have no idea." Good times.
And just when you thought you couldn't like our new shortstop any more? He calls Billy Beane "sexy and cool". I love it.
Now if only he could outperform Drew and Pennington at the shortstop position...
Special Bonus Feature from darooster:
I need a Hiro!
I need a hero
I’m holding out for a Hiro ‘til the end of the ninth
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the team flight
I need a Hiro!
I’m holding out for a Hiro ‘til the morning light
He’s gotta Bernie
And there’s gotta be pie
And he’s gotta prove Billy Beane right