The Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden League formally introduced Hideki Irabu on May 18. Sanspo quoted Irabu as saying, "I want to feel the joy of standing on the mound and have fun out there. I'm excited". Sanspo also has a couple of photos of Irabu in his jersey and at the press conference. That's Long Beach manager Gary Templeton on Irabu's left in the second picture, and a guy who kind of looks like actor Ray Liotta on his right. Irabu is scheduled to make his first game appearance on June 5.
Last month, Long Beach's Golden League rival Calgary Vipers announced the signing of Mac Suzuki as well (thanks to reader Dave G for the tip), so we'll have two of the Japanese MLB pioneers in the same indy league this year. Ironically, along with Hideo Nomo, Irabu and Suzuki hold an ownership stake in the independent Elmira Pioneers, who currently participate in the New York State Collegiate League. So we have a couple of guys who own a team in one league playing in another.