Japanese Baseball Player Asks to be Showered with Boos

Tokyo, Sept. 2015

This is Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, the current first baseman/power slugger of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Affectionately known as Sodai Gomi (oversize refuse) to baseball aficionados like my buddy Bowen Roozewell (who refuses to allow me to use his actual name due to the profound shame he feels from being a Swallows fan), the hefty home run/strike out artist is making waves with his new t-shirt.

Earlier this week, the team released a series of limited edition tees for four stand-out players, and not only did Hatakeyama personally select the design for his, but to the delight of ladies everywhere, he also modeled it.

According to the product description, by sprawling Boo, which is apparently Hatakeyama’s nickname, in big bold letters across the front of the shirt, we are reminded of the belovedness those three letters conjure up, the raw power of Hatakeyama’s full swing, and the sense of security we feel from his being on the team. At the end of the description, they ask:

“When Hatakeyama steps up to the plate, please shower him with Boos!”

While the Japanese do not boo as often as we do in the West, it is not all that uncommon and at the very least, everyone understands the concept. As such, Bowen, who had been peppering Hatakeyama with boos long before the shirt went on sale, suspects that Hatakeyama is trying to turn the word inside out so that he doesn’t go home each night in tears. By turning Boo into an endearing encouragement rather than a scornful assessment of his ability and personal appearance, he can feel admired and cherished no matter how bad he craps the bed each game.

Regardless, you can count on Bowen and I to gladly take them up on their request and boo the crap out of Hatakeyama whether he strikes out or through the miracle of Jesus Christ simply flies out.

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