Sunday, April 20, 2008

No Mo Nomo

Today, the KC Royals cut Hideo Nomo.

When the Royals cut you, face it: you're cut.

Why care?

Because it was Nomo's success that prompted us to sign the "fat toad," Hideki Irabu, one of the most unfairly maligned players in our modern history.

Yes, unfairly maligned.

For two months in 1998, playing for the greatest team in modern history, Hideki was our best starting pitcher. That year, he went 13-9 with an ERA of 4.04. (Would we whine if Phil Hughes gives us those numbers in his second year?) We traded Irabu for Ted Lilly and Jake Westbrook, who we later turned into Jeff Weaver and David Justice.

Jeff Weaver? No there's a toad.

It was Nomo who prompted us in 1998 to sign the orange-haired power-pitching fireballer, Kats Maeda, who GM Bob Watson -- yeah, the one who hates us now -- triumphantly called, "one of the best." Kats peaked in an Arizona Fall League, then threw his arm out in the following spring training. He sucked.

Our interest in Japanese players seemed to mirror Nomo's success.

In 2000, he tanked with Detroit. That winter, we didn't even nibble at Ichiro.

He made a comeback in 2002 with the Dodgergs (16-6). That winter, we signed Godzilla.

He lost steam in 2003. We passed on Kaz Matsui.

He didn't pitch in 2006. That winter, we let the Redsocks outbid us for Dice K.

Of course, we did sign Kei Igawa...

In his final decent outing, Nomo mopped up against us April 10 in KC. He pitched three innings, gave up two runs -- HRs by Arod and Jorge.

So long, Hideo. And Fat Toad, where are you?

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