Digitized by Jessica Suchman and Catherine Nissley
New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner should consider trading teams rather than players. Perhaps the Yankees for the Hiroshima Carp and a few million yen.Steinbrenner would appreciate besuboru – where sore-armed pitchers are ordered to "pitch through the pain," and where one infielder proudly took 900 consecutive practice grounders before collapsing. Wa – team spirit and unity – always comes ahead of the individual.
You Gotta Have Wa (Macmillan, $17.95, 339 pages) by Robert Whiting is a study of the two cultures colliding on the baseball diamond. "This isn't baseball," complained former Los Angeles Dodger Reggie Smith after a season in Tokyo. "It only looks like it." Most gaijin (foreigners) imported from the USA seem self-centered to Japanese society, where, Whiting writes, the saying "'The Nail That Sticks Up Shall Be Hammered Down' is practically a national slogan."
The writing is less than graceful, but the research is impressive. Like the story of Shinichi Ishimaru, a 20-game winner who was a World War II kamikaze pilot. Ordered to attack a U.S. ship in 1944, he said, "I'll get in the plane after I throw 10 strikes." He did, then flew to his death. His glove and ball went to his family.