Even though we have some of the best baseball minds anywhere right here, it's certainly worth paying attention to what other writers have said about the shocking suicide of Hideki Irabu. The former Yankees pitcher was 42.
ESPN New York's Rob Parker remembers Hideki Irabu's MLB debut:
For me, it was like seeing Allen Iverson play in person for the first time at the Garden. I wanted to see that quickness everybody in the NBA was talking about. And I was amazed.
I can remember the crowd going wild after every punch out. It was a magical night in the Big Ball Orchard in the South Bronx.
Mac Engel of the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram calls Irabu's suicide "a total bummer":
...apparently, according to his teammates, he had some serious bad gas.
I was so sure the interpreter was not giving me the straight answers that I took the recording to a Japanese professor at TCU. She said he used a lot of slang, but that the interpreter had pretty much said what Irabu said. He was just, boring.
My dad told me a story when he was pitching one of his first games in AAA that a Yankee was beaned (clearly unintentionally too) and Irabu, who barely could speak English and hardly knew his teammates, went to the coach and asked if he should throw at the opposition. Right then and there I loved the guy.
Buster Olney tweeted the prophetic tale of a melancholy Irabu:
Really sad news about Hideki Irabu. He always seemed terribly sad in the two years I covered him; he had a lot of troubled times. RIP.
I hope this causes professional sports to focus more on the physical and psychological strain of foreign superstars moving into the US market - especially in baseball.