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Welcome To Chicago, Mr. Fukudome

Wrigley Field, Wednesday evening, December 19, 2007. Photo by David Sameshima

As I think we all expected, yesterday we saw a very different ballplayer than anyone who's ever played for the Cubs before, not surprising, since Kosuke Fukudome is the first Japanese player in Cubs history -- and even though we've all followed Ichiro, and Hideki Matsui, and Hideo Nomo, and others, from afar, this is the first time we've had a Japanese player as "ours", to root for and hope for him to be a great success on this side of the Pacific.

Fukudome seems respectful, confident and focused. He's quoted in Jay Mariotti's column:

"Hi, my name is Kosuke Fukudome," he said politely in his opening remarks. "I am very happy to be able to sign my contract and play with this historic team. I look forward to playing in such a historic ballpark and playing in front of such ecstatic fans."

Ecstaic -- well, that's what we'll be if he can help the Cubs win the championship that's been elusive for a century. He knows about that, too:

"That didn't factor too much in my choice,'' he said of the infamous futility. "If I can do my best and help bring a championship to this city, that will be the best thing I can do.

"I've always wanted the challenge to come over here and see what I could do. We'll see how well I do.

I liked what I saw and heard yesterday. Now we wait to see what else Jim Hendry has up his sleeve -- Brian Roberts is still on his Christmas wish list, according to Dave van Dyck.

UPDATE [2007-12-20 11:00:36 by Al]: Here's a Japanese-language article about the news conference. Anyone with a knowledge of Japanese who'd like to translate this, feel free, and either post it or email it to me and I'll post it.