Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES has a piece today on Dodger Hiroki Kuroda that starts out as a lament from Kuroda over being fined for plunking Phillies batters last season (while Brett Myers was not) and ends with Kuroda recounting strange childhood punishments including a youth baseball training camp that sounded more like concentration camp.
(Kuroda as Mike Scioscia)
Of course, I preferred the latter portion of the piece, especially with it including non-sequitur nudity.
Kuroda said that as a boy, if he disobeyed his mother, she would throw him out of the house at night — naked.
“That would be a crime in this country, right?” Kuroda said, laughing.
Sounds like a dream I once had about staying at the Tropicana.
Kuroda didn’t say how old he was at the time, but Chris Hansen’s ears just perked up.
More from Hernandez:
He said that when he was in high school, his baseball team held a one-month training camp in the summer. The team practiced from sunup to sundown.
Because drinking water was considered a sign of weakness, doing so was not allowed by the coach. Practices were so brutal that players resorted to drinking directly out of a dirty river that ran behind the baseball field.
If that weren’t bad enough, Kuroda received an added punishment for pitching poorly. He and another pitcher were told to run nonstop for four days in a row. They were expected to continue running throughout the night.
Kuroda said teammates used to sneak food and water to them and that he and the other pitcher would keep running, but would also be waiting for the light in the coach’s office to go off. Then they would run behind a fence, where they would sleep for a few hours, and then be up and running again by the time their coach woke up.
After three days, Kuroda said that the other boy’s mother became concerned about their health and showed up one night and took her son and Kuroda back to her house.
The boy’s mother called Kuroda’s mother to tell them what had happened.
Kuroda said his mother told her: “Please take my son back to the field.”
What, no barbed wire or machine guns? Lost episode of Hogan’s Heroes?
Not saying I don’t believe Kuroda, as I’ve known American players and coaches who have gone through Japanese baseball training camps and they’ve confirmed some of the bizarre coaching *techniques*over there.
Kuroda’s accounts more likely mirror how we all exaggerate our woeful persecutions suffered as children.
Not that I’m complaining about a ballplayer with an actual personality.
Kuroda starts against the Phillies in Game 3 of the NLCS. Will Torre’s punishment for a bad outing will include four days on the 405 freeway?