Apparently the bubble economy is back and it is 1989 all over again in Japan, as the Yankees’ newest import spent almost $200K to fly himself halfway across the world to settle into his new gig.
With a 7-year, $155 million contract, $200k is just a penny in the can for Rakuten Golden Eagle-turned Yankee, Masahiro Tanaka. (Okay it was really $195K, but who’s counting? Clearly not Tanaka). Despite Tanaka’s luxurious paycheck, after hearing about the other passengers on the aircraft, it is hard to believe the player himself was behind the extravagant trip.
Flying with Tanaka were four people, including his wife – plus his teacup poodle, Haru. Tanaka is married to pop-star Mai Satoda. She gained popularity in the early 2000s and continues to entertain. Together and individually, these two are powerhouses in pop-culture. Yet with fanfare and stardom, the excessive expenditure seems uncharacteristic.
So with 5 passengers flying on the Boeing 787, that left 237 seats for little Haru on the 242-occupancy Dreamliner to take her reign and show America that this poodle ain’t no first class. She’s ALL class. Haru means spring. And there is no better way for Spring to hit Spring training, than in the largest passenger aircraft used in the world. Way to make an entrance. Bronx bombers step aside. The Bronx Poodle has entered the stadium and that outfield is the nicest outhouse a lady could ask for.
“The reason why I chartered was I thought about my conditioning and I wanted to get here in the best position possible,” Tanaka said, referring to the age-old Pavlovian conditioning he experiences with Haru. When Haru rings that bell, Tanaka immediately gets on all twos and accommodates.
The poodle: where the bark is its bite. And its bite is reserved for only the tender-est of meats and cheeses. Haru is no exception. In Japan, poodles are carried in Louis Vuitons and wear collars from Omotesando, Tokyo’s 5th Avenue/Rodeo Drive and have more costume changes than Cher. The Dreamliner was the subtlest way for Haru to take the mound.
Tanaka’s addition to the Yankees makes the team’s roster 7.5% Japanese. If the Yankees were a craft beer, they’d be one big Japaholic beverage. The bigger question here though, is what will Tanaka’s PFR, that is Poodle Finesse Ratio, be by the end of Haru’s first season?