Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dodgers Righthander Gives Fellow Japanese a Thrill

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dodgers Righthander Gives Fellow Japanese a Thrill

Article excerpt

Tsubasa Inoue and his dad, Mike, had seen Japanese players pitch in major-league baseball games before.

In Japan.

But on Monday night, they saw it at Busch Stadium, as the Los Angeles Dodgers' Hideo Nomo beat the Cardinals 5-2. He entertained a smattering of Japanese fans throughout the park and more than two-dozen traveling members of the Japanese media the same way.

Nomo is the first native of Japan to pitch in the United States major leagues in 30 years. He sparks a curiosity and loyalty wherever he pitches. He did so in St. Louis, even though the area's Japanese community numbers about 200 families.

It was a chance to eat some nachos, drink a Coke and proudly watch a homeboy.

"To me," Mike Inoue said, "this is very interesting - a Japanese pitcher in the United States."

His family wanted to see it to believe it as well. Tomoko Inoue, Mike's wife, also attended the game with Tsubasa (pronounced too-BA-sa) and Arisa, 12. Tsubasa, 14, was born in Japan and was 6 months old when the family moved to the United States because of Mike's job.

The Inoue (pronounced in-OO-ee) family moved back to Japan when Tsubasa was 7. They moved to the St. Louis area three years ago after another transfer for Mike. Tsubasa will be a freshman at Parkway Central High and plays baseball in the Chesterfield Athletic Association.

"I played baseball when I was growing up," Mike said. "We called it grass baseball or field baseball. It wasn't organized. But everyone played."

Tsubasa played the game a lot during the years he lived in Japan.

"It was the only sport we could play," he said. "Soccer wasn't very popular then, and I didn't even know about basketball yet. Back then, baseball used to be my favorite sport."

Baseball now is his second-favorite sport, behind basketball. His favorite player is San Antonio's Dennis Rodman "not because of the way he acts, but because of his skills. …

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