Mariners Insider

Johjima’s departure wasn’t about family

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on Oct. 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm with 4 Comments »
October 22, 2009 1:22 pm

Well, for those who just didn’t think it rang true that catcher Kenji Johjima left two years of his contract with the Seattle Mariners just to be closer to his family – hoist one to your own brilliance.

Kenji Johjima
Kenji Johjima

Japanese writers have had their post-departure conference call, and Johjima told them he left over playing time, not family time.

Kirby Arnold, the fine beat writer with the Everett Herald, has been hearing not only from Japanese writers but talked to reliever Mark Lowe – and Lowe remembers Joh talking about playing time a year ago.

Kirby’s blog is must reading for Mariners fans.

Joh’s candor with his fellow countymen is understandable, and his decision to walk away from $16 million had as much to do with pride and honor as a desire to play at home.

Apparently, he didn’t want to tell the American media – or the Mariners – all of the story.

May Joh enjoy continued success behind the plate in Japan for as long as he wishes to play. His reticence to open up here was never mean-spirited, and he tried hard to make a difficult transition.

Like closer Kazuhiro Sasaki before him, that transition never made him fully happy. It’s too hard playing baseball at the big-league level when you are happy.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. Pray4Peace says:

    Larry, I think your last sentence needs a “not” or an “un”.

    I, for one, wish him the best.

    It’s got to be hard coming from an entirely different country and culture and have to adapt. Some can do it. Others can’t.

    Good luck, Kenji.

  2. You’ve got an extra ‘http//’ in the link to Kirby’s blog.

  3. jimkingjr says:

    If only players from our own culture had as much honor. Sign a big contract, but not be able to deliver- for whatever reason. Don’t just “take the money.”

    Here’s to Kenji Johjima finding happiness, playing time, and a wonderful ending to an honorable career.

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