Tanaka-watch in Chicago -- results typical

Following the excitement in real time here in Chi.

All other sports considerations grind to a halt as Cub fans anxiously follow the Twitter board, manically check the blogs and media websites, and keep the radio tuned to the non-stop blathering on sports talk radio.

Who will 25-year-old Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka sign with? Last year he was 24-0 with a 1.24 ERA with the Rakuten Eagles of the Japanes League. Those are some eye-popping numbers!

The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Images

The Yomiuri Shimbun/AP Images

As I write this blog, at about 8:45am CST, most baseball pundits believe the contest is between two teams, the Cubs and the Yankees, down from five (including the White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers), although some have not counted the Dodgers out yet.

We haven't had this much fun since Chicago put in its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics! Remember that? We couldn't lose! We had the Obamas on our side! We had Hillary! We had Oprah! We had the Bean in Millennium Park!

We didn't even make the final cut.

But the Cubs have Theo! The Cubs have Jed! Epstein and Hoyer are baseball's front office wunderkinder. The Ricketts have more money than Fort Knox! How can they lose?

Well, the Yankees have Brian Cashman as GM. Is there a more appropriate last name in all of sports? (Okay, I must be about the 1,000,000,000th person to note that, but how can a sports blogger resist?) Under Cashman, the Yankees have won seven pennants and five World Series.

And now, at 9:02am, it's reported on the USA Today website that the Yankees signed Tanaka for $155 million over seven years.

Before this happened I did an informal survey of Cub fans as to whom Tanaka would go with. The responses?



"Ha!" from a Cub fan who couldn't believe I'd even ask.

"Duh" from the above Cub fan's brother.

"Cubs" from one lonely Cub fan in Indiana.

What tipped the balance if the money was equal? Maybe Tanaka's wife Mai Satoda had some influence? She's a recording and media star in Japan and New York is still the media capital of the U.S.

Tanaka wedding

Could have been a factor. Or maybe Tanaka just wants to win now instead of in four-to-six years.



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  • Comment sent via email from a Long Island Cub fan: I’m not that disappointed by this. For almost all baseball teams there is such a thing as “too much money”. But not for the Yankees. $22.1 million/yr for seven years? You could probably steal the Cardinals minor league pitching roster for that. And in there you’d probably find three or four keepers. While there have been some good Japanese pitchers, I don’t think there has been a multi-year Cy Young contender, which is what this money warrants. And if he doesn’t pan out, the Yanks will pay him and go get somebody else. Remember Carl Pavano? So, let’s see if our geniuses can spot some real talent closer to home.

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