'Big Boss' era begins in appropriate fashion

March 25th, 2022

You might remember Tsuyoshi Shinjo as an outfielder who spent three years in the Majors, playing for the Mets and the Giants between 2001-03. He compiled a .669 career OPS and, in 2002, became the first Japanese-born player to appear in the World Series.

If you don’t know what Shinjo has been up to lately, here’s a must-see update.

In October, Shinjo was hired to be the manager of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and he doesn’t go by his given name in his role. No, he goes by his new nickname in Japan, “Big Boss.” Wait, it gets better.

On Thursday, the Ham Fighters opened their 2022 season, and Shinjo made an appropriately boss entrance, complete with smoke, spotlights and a glow-in-the-dark sign flashing “Big Boss” across the front of his uniform.

The manager-showman then stood in the batter’s box for the ceremonial pitch, caught the ball on the fly and ran it back to the pitcher with his right arm raised triumphantly as if he had just snagged the final out of a World Series.

We are now less than two weeks away from MLB’s Opening Day. What kind of theatrics will take place on April 7? We can only guess. But the bar has been set at a very high level now.