Saturday, September 29, 2012

A farewell to Nishi

Tsuyoshi Nishioka's dream of playing in the United States
turned into a nightmare, and he surrendered more than
$3 million to end the torment.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Friday turned his back on the final $3.25 million the Twins owed him. The Twins granted his release, and he presumably will resume his career in Japan.

I will probably never really understand what went wrong here. Nishioka should never have been expected to be a star, but there was good reason to expect him to be a competent regular. The Japanese majors aren't that much softer than the American majors.

But he was a complete and utter disaster in the states.

The only theory I can offer is that Nishioka somehow, for some reason, never really believed he belonged. I tend to scoff at the players-turned-broadcasters who credit every achievement to confidence -- it's a chicken-or-the-egg proposition -- but still ...

I think of Nishioka's now-infamous self-isolation at Fort Myers in the days before his first spring training with the Twins -- solo workouts on a back field in non-team attire while his future teammates worked out together at the main fields. I think of how quickly he got hurt when the season began, how long he was out, and how each struggle, each failure seemed to lead to the next.

I see in that a player who began with a core of self-doubt, and every day seemed to add to that doubt.

And then his marriage fell apart.

Professionally and personally, it's been a miserable two years for Nishioka. Miserable enough to renounce more than $3 million in order to put an end to it.

I would go through a lot of misery for $3.25 million. Most of us would. Nishioka's agents advised him against  this move, but he decided a third year wasn't worth it. Maybe the decision was easier because he'd already gotten $6 million out of his U.S. venture, but it still can't be easy to turn down that much money.

As a Twins fan, I'm glad he's officially out of the picture. As a fellow human, I feel some pity for him.

1 comment:

  1. No successes to build upon. Only a succession of misplays.