All eyes were on the baseball as it traveled high in the air, hovering over the right field fence and past the trees. Oohs and aahs were followed by applause.
Hideki Matsui smiled and gave the kids and their parents a thumbs up. Ten years after retiring from baseball, “Godzilla” can still go a long way. More important to him, however, were the two hours leading up to his brief batting practice, a baseball clinic for kids he hosted Saturday morning at Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook.
“Kids, just their smiles, everyone enjoying the day, that’s really what matters to me,” the former Yankees star said through an interpreter.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Matsui ran clinics in New York and Japan several times a year. It was his first since the pandemic. But he hopes to do more now to stay active and spread his love for the sport. After the clinic, he answered the children’s questions and signed autographs.
“Hopefully we can start doing that and get back to a regular schedule,” said Matsui, a two-time All-Star and World Series champion with the Yankees who hit 175 home runs during his 10-year MLB career. . “I’ve played in Japan and the United States. For me, it’s a very simple concept: through this clinic, I like to interact and make everyone enjoy the day, enjoy the clinic , likes to play baseball. I hope it’s something they will [remember] and keep playing baseball.
These days, 48-year-old Matsui is enjoying his retirement. He no longer works for the Yankees, having recently spent time as a special adviser to general manager Brian Cashman, and is dedicated to his two children. Matsui, who still lives in the area and watches the Yankees a lot, said he thinks they can go far in October.
He also follows fellow Japanese Shohei Ohtani and is amazed at what the two-way Angels star has been able to do since arriving in America four years ago.
“He’s an amazing player. He’s doing something that’s never really been done before, as a pitcher and a positional player, and he’s doing it at a really high level,” Matsui said. , it’s already incredible. What he does is extraordinary.
New York Post