It’s a doozy of a question: how do you make your new teammate feel welcome, especially one from a very different place? The Los Angeles Dodgers faced just such a conundrum with the arrival of Hiroki Kuroda from the Hiroshima Toyo Carp on a three-year away pass. Bake him a cake? A banner over his cubicle? Team movie night with the Michael Keaton vehicle Gung Ho?
Of course not. There’s only one way to make Kuroda feel at home: karaoke, American style!
That’s Juan Pierre as Randy Jackson (you got no power, dawg), Jeff Kent as Simon Cowell (your defense is bizarrely dreadful), and team physical therapist Sue Falsone as Paula Abdul (gurgle). Not pictured: Nomar Garciaparra as Ryan Seacrest (Mia Hamm must be heartbroken). Not explained: why there’s a fellow in full rasta gear on the Dodgers Web site.
All the rookies participated, including Xavier Paul’s touching rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” as a plaintive plea to stay on the 40-man roster. However, it was Kuroda’s performance of “Love Me Tender” that brought down the house.
As more teams jump on the reality television team-building exercises, what can we look forward to next season? “The Housewives of Cobb County Divvy Up the Braves”? “I Love New York But Only If Scott Boras Says It’s Cool”? “Dade County Extreme Makeover - Marlins Edition”? (Actually, that last one sounds likely as long as it’s done on the cheap and Jeffrey Loria gets all the syndication money.)