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December 7, 2010

Winter Meetings

Gaku Tashiro: A Japanese Milestone

by David Laurila

Gaku Tashiro, a reporter for Tokyo’s Sankei Sports Newspaper, today became the first Japanese scribe to achieve 10 years of membership in the Baseball Writers Association of America [BBWAA]. Tashiro, who was recognized at today’s annual meeting, took a few minutes to talk about his place in BBWAA history.

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Tashiro: “In 2001, my boss decided to send me here to cover Ichiro, so I became a member of the Seattle chapter [of the BBWAA]. I covered Ichiro’s first year, all of the games for the Mariners. In 2002 I changed to the Los Angeles chapter to cover the Dodgers, because [Hideo] Nomo and [Kazuhisa] Ishii pitched there together. Then, from 2003 to last year, I covered Hideki Matsui in New York; this year I covered him in Anaheim.

“In spring training of 2001, I talked to the Seattle chapter chairman, Bob Sherwin, about how I was going to cover all of the season. He asked the BBWAA president to open the door for Japanese media. That is how I got the first BBWAA card as a Japanese reporter. Today, I became for the first to get a Hall of Fame vote.

“When I came here, the Seattle chapter chairman told me that I have to cover Major League Baseball like the American reporters do. So I tried to do the same thing, to respect the American reporters’ job. Before I came here, I didn’t know how to cover it like major league reporters. In Japan, for example, we are not allowed to enter the clubhouse. We are always talking to the player outside of the clubhouse, or on the field, only. Here, all reporters can go in the locker room and talk to the players before and after the game. That is a big difference, and I was so surprised.”

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