Mariners Insider

Johjima’s farewell – not so fast, Yanks

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Oct. 20, 2009 at 12:38 pm with 11 Comments »
October 20, 2009 12:39 pm

After issuing a brief statement Monday saying he’d never forget the Seattle Mariners, the fans or the friends he’d made here, Kenji Johjima told the team he’d be holding a conference call with the media soon.

Turns out, however, he didn’t mean with the American media.

Joh, who was never comfortable enough with the Northwest press to open up about himself, apparently still isn’t. Willing to talk to the Japanese media about his reasons for walking away from the final two years of his contract, he didn’t even want to talk to the press here long distance.

It’s certainly no reflection on his play here, or his effort as a Mariner or even his relationship with the Seattle fans.

Joh never let American writers – and, by extension, his fans – to know him except on the field.

With his departure from the big leagues, that didn’t change.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. hellomouthbreathers says:

    Isn’t this exactly the problem? He was never a Mariner, he was a Japanese guy that happened to play in Seattle. The entire reason he stayed as long as he did, even though he was approachable as tire spikes and could call a game like, well, I could, was because he was a Japanese guy that happened to play for a team in Seattle that was owned by some other Japanese guys. That he would spurn American media, and by extent American fans, just drives it all home.

    He was a servicable catcher but he somehow outlasted his stay by years. Pitchers didn’t appear to like pitching to him. And the team had to keep him based on one thing and one thing alone. And before I get a lot of “you don’t know what you’re talking about” gabrage, I base everything on what has been reported over the years.

  2. Thankeesai says:

    How can a person who claims to know baseball make such idiotic statements, Hellmouth?

    Pitchers who didn’t like to pitch to Joh were pitchers who never accepted the responsibility for their own actions. The ones who did had no problem with Joh.

    And stop with the anti-Japanese rhetoric already. The Mariners are not a team in Seattle owned by ‘some other Japanese guys’. The Mariners are owned by a consortium of various owners. The one Japanese owner has about as much to do with baseball as YOU do, which is to say very little. First you racists claim that Yamauchi is a dog because he doesn’t get involved with the team, and then you complain that he interferes with the team. You can’t have it both ways.

    Joh was a fine catcher, much better both offensively and defensively than Rob Johnson will ever be. The reason the Ms spoiled brats didn’t like him was because he got a contract extension that put him into the same category as any other catcher who the previous year had hit .296 with nearly 30 HR. It was the punks like Washburn and Bedard who started this character assassination, and you know what THEY’RE made of.

    And…you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about, and the reason you hear that a lot is because of junk posts like the one above.

  3. Larry, Joh’s treatment by the press–not all of it, some of it–results in opinions like the one expressed before I posted. Do you blame him for not talking with the Seattle area press?

  4. Thankeesai says:

    And as for the La Rue article above: Do you blame Joh for not trusting the Northwest media? Consider that comment, “Joh never let American writers – and, by extension, his fans – to know him except on the field.” Well, duh. That’s where he should let the fans get to know him, on the field. I’d much rather have players like Ichiro and Johjima perform with their skills on the field than with their mouths throught the media.

  5. longco44 says:

    Johjima’s farewell – not so fast, Yanks….

    Not sure I understand your title to this post…… What do the Yanks have anything to do with this article? If there’s something obvious Im missing it’s probably because Im not awake yet!

  6. wabubba67 says:

    Don’t forget that Moyer and Hernandez also had issues with Johjima…not just Washburn (who was well-respected in the clubhouse) and Bedard. To say that Johjima is better than Johnson defensively is laughable…offensively, we’ll just have to wait and see. I think Johnson did a pretty good job behind the plate considering that he was playing with two hips, a shoulder and a wrist that required surgery after the season.

    Yanks doesn’t have anything to do with Yankees…I think that Larry was using it as a reference to Americans in general.

  7. westside_guy says:

    There’s just no way you can objectively consider Rob Johnson to be a good defensive catcher. If he was in bad enough shape that his injuries affected his ability to catch, he shouldn’t have been behind the plate – but it’s not like his defensive problems are some new thing that just came about this year.

    I expect Adam Moore may very well be our starting catcher come next spring. The pitchers may like Rob, but c’mon. He’s not only subpar defensively, but on offense he’s a low batting average, low on-base percentage, no-power guy – truly a triple threat.

  8. Johnson was a .290 hitter at aaa before last year’s multiple injuries in his rookie season (come on, most guys wouldn’t have played at all with that much pain) & can catch rings around Jo. There was a reason that almost all the pitchers couldn’t stand Jo & that Wak himself a former CATCHER mostly sat him.

  9. wabubba67 says:

    Actually, moo, it’s even better than you thought…Johnson hit .305 during his last season in Tacoma.

    Johjima called a horrible game, and that is the most important thing that a catcher contributes to the well-being of a team. Watch the pitches and locations selected by Johnson and then watch how smoothly he receives and frames the pitch…there was no comparison between the two. Moore seems cut from the same cloth, only way more upside offensively.

  10. hellomouthbreathers says:

    Someone with the screen name “thankeesai” is calling me out as an idiot? Did Roland tell you to say that?

    Anyhow, I do know what I am talking about. If you put down your Gunslinger books and actually watched a game, you could tell pitchers were irritable with him. The only reason he stayed as long as he did was because we have a Japanese ownership group – on any other team he would have been gone much earlier. He was a bad game caller and he stopped hitting, you can’t miss both of those attributes and stick around as a catcher.

    We had a log jam of young catchers that could not move and “take their lumps” because we had a half-bleeped catcher that we treated linke Johnny Bench fouling it all up.

    (By the way, I know about the Gunslinger because my little brother is a pasty little bookworm, too.)

  11. wabubba67 says:

    Easy hellmouth….while I agree with most of your sentiment, I have to take a little exception to your shots about The Gunslinger series. I love reading Stephen King and no one would ever confuse me for a “pasty little bookworm”, although thankeesai is kind of a lame login name and I do think that the person behind it is way too sensitive to criticism of the Mariners based on Japanese ownsership.

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