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Monday, September 10, 2001

Izzy’s lazy ways return by Jeff Horrigan

Don’t be alarmed. This is not a Red Sox related article. Well it is, but that is not why I post it. I do have a question regarding this portion of the article:

“His career in North America may be over as well. The Sox announced a working agreement with the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League last week, and Alcantara is a prime candidate to be the first exchange student.”

I’ve always been curious about this procedure. What are a player’s rights here? Can a team just send him off to Japan without his permission. After all, this isn’t like being traded from Boston to Kansas City.

 

 

The Original Gary Posted: September 10, 2001 at 07:15 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Cris E Posted: September 10, 2001 at 08:34 PM (#72613)
If I were on thw owners' side of the table this fall this would be a minor chip I'd try to trade on. There are so few openings for gaijin and so many guys capable of filling the slots (Tuffy...) that conceding some control to the union in exchange for getting a more important piece back seems a no-brainer.

I'm not sure the union cares about this issue now, but if you loudly and publicly force someone's career overseas just before negotiations start you might be able to, um, create some interest.
   2. RichRifkin Posted: September 10, 2001 at 08:45 PM (#72614)
I agree that it seems quite unfair. Of course, Alcantara can always refuse to report to Japan. If he did that, then the deal sending him to Fukuoka would probably be cancelled, and the Red Sox would have to retain him or trade him to another North American major league club.

It's possible, though, that going to Japan would be beneficial to Izzy. Cecil Fielder, for example, seemed to improve his skills over there, and then when he returned to America, Cecil was a top player. Of course, it was Cecil's decision to play in Japan in the first place.

By the way, I can imagine that it would have been much, much more traumatic for this kind of deal 75 years ago. Today, Japan is a fully modern country, a very nice place to live. With e-mail and cheap international phone calls and quick flights back and forth and lots of other gaijan to keep you company, it's not a hardship to live in Japan for a foreigner. (However, it is expensive, unless you stay in the dorms each team provides for its players.)

But if this kind of deal had been made in 1926 - say the Red Sox sent the Babe to Fukuoka, not the Bronx - it would have been very tough. An American (or Dominican) there would have been terribly isolated, unable to communicate with friends and family back home. Travelling there would have taken at least a month, each way. And Japan in those days was terribly poor, compared with the United States. Even worse, they were not a Democratic country, though the Japanese government of 1926 was not nearly so terrible as the regime of 1936.
   3. The Original Gary Posted: September 10, 2001 at 10:16 PM (#72615)
If you think 1926 would have been bad, how about been traded to Japan in the offseason of 1941.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: September 11, 2001 at 12:14 AM (#72616)
This runs contrary to most of what's been written here, but it's my understanding that a major league team must have a player's permission before sending him to a team in the Japanese Leagues. As I recall last year, the Reds negotiated such a deal with the agent for pitcher Ed Yarnall, who was then sold to one of the Japanese teams.

In fact, I can never recall a player being sold or traded against his wishes to a Japanese League team.
   5. RichRifkin Posted: September 11, 2001 at 01:27 AM (#72619)
I'm not an expert on Japanese history, but my understanding is somewhat different from what TSM writes above. From what little I have read, I thought that the Japanese Diet in the 1920s, though democratically elected - at least by males - was extremely impotent, and that the true power, during that period, was passing from the hands of democrats to militarists. But I could be wrong, particularly as it concerns the specific year, 1926.
   6. Robert Dudek Posted: September 11, 2001 at 06:49 AM (#72621)
I shudder to think what the Japanese of that era would have thought of Ruth. Being larger than sumo wrestlers of that time, they must have thought of him as a "mountain man" or something similar.
   7. Big Ed Posted: September 21, 2001 at 06:45 PM (#72622)
Gary,

I'm interested in your comment on how this is different than being traded to KC, outside of a different country. Other than that, it is exactly the same. Why don't players have rights about where they can get sent to? I know, I know, 5/10 rights, but what about everyone else? Why is this fair? Because it's always been done this way? That's what they said about the reserve rule too...

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