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:
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:
"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.