Now, before you all go and begin with your juvenile jokes... well, okay, I'll wait a second and let you make them.
I first heard about Ryota Igarishi's alter-ego of Swallows Man on Monday when reading a excellent piece on him by Adam Rubin of the Daily News. If you haven't, I would recommend you click through to read it. Anyway, this is the part that really caught my attention:
During his 11-year career with the Yakult Swallows, Igarashi would wear a WWE-style mask and take on the persona of "Swallows Man." A photo of him in character is on his Japanese-language Web site (http://ryo-ta.way-nifty.com/swallowsman/).Seriously?! Where do we find these guys?! From Tsuyoshi Shinjo, underwear model, to Mr. Koo, we seem to bring Japanse players over to the states based solely on personality (not a strategy that I am against).
"When it was cold, I would practice with the mask on," he says through the interpreter.
In any event, the website is amazing. And that's just judging from the pictures. Take a look.
Luckily, we were able to ask our resident Japanese-speaker and Fonzie contributor, Brian Jackson, to translate the most recent diary entry. Here is what he got back to us with:
The guy that writes it is Swallows Man. It's actually a farewell letter.I mean, how can you not just be compeletely in love with this guy already? That is hysterical. Although he mentions in the Rubin article that he does not plan on bringing his alter ego to the states ("Igarashi then deadpans in his limited English: "New York Mets Man. New face."), it appears that, should the season take a turn for the worst, we'll at least have someone interesting to keep tabs on.
November 16, 2009
Yesterday, Ryota declared free agency and his intent to take on the challenge of the Major Leagues.
As Swallows Man, I love the Swallows so I am a little sad, but I cheer Ryota for following his dreams!!
I, Swallows Man, inspired by Ryota's ambition, have decided to go to the Major Leagues of Pro Wrestling: Mexico.
To everyone who has supported me to date, thank you very much.
I was so happy that, as fellow supporters of Ryota, that you supported Swallows Man as well.
With a grateful heart, I would like to make a gift to my beloved fans: the Swallows Man mask.
The webmaster will provide the details.
Even though I will be in Mexico, my support for the Swallows and Ryota will not change!!!!
Thank you very much <3
Swallows Man, who loves the Swallows
The rest is instructions from the webmaster on how to enter the contest to win the Swallows Man mask.