Koji Uehera met the Baltimore press today in a press conference at the Warehouse and needless to say, it's nice to see a free agent genuinely happy to join a new team. For the media that was there, their reports of the occasion was a good one and they had high regard for the way Uehara handled himself. He seemed comfortable, confident, and had quite a personality.
A snippet from the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec:
Today's news conference at Camden Yards, which was moved to another room and floor at the warehouse to accommodate a bigger media presence, attracted 50 reporters, split evenly between Japanese and local media outlets. Twelve different Japanese outlets, five different television stations and the Embassy of Japan were also represented.
"He's one of the most famous pitchers in Japan, maybe in the top five," said Hideki Okuda, a reporter for Sports Nippon Newspaper in Tokyo who has covered American baseball for more than two decades. "This is a big story. The name of the Orioles has been in the headlines [in Japan]." Wearing a white dress shirt and dark tie and flanked by MacPhail and translator Kenta Yagi, Uehara appeared very much at ease during the news conference, displaying an easygoing nature and a dry sense of humor.
When asked about the media attention he's expected to receive, Uehara, who has been followed by a pack of reporters since his Sunday arrival into the United States, said that "as long as you don't come to my house, it's OK." Later misunderstanding a question about potential communication issues -- the pitcher doesn't speak English -- Uehara said, "I'm going to use body language, but I like girls."
I'm not sure this signing will exactly make Baltimore better this year or next; however, his presence will get the Oriole team name out in Japan and possibly open up some new marketing opprptunities.
I do know, if he keeps up the display he had today, he'll make for good copy.