All eyes were on the baseball as it was traveling high in the air, moving past right-field fences and trees. Ooohs and ahhs were followed by thunderous applause.
Hideki Matsui smiled and gave a thumbs up to the kids and their parents. Ten years after retiring from baseball, “Godzilla” may still go deep. What was more important to him, however, was the two hours before his brief batting practice, a baseball clinic for children he held on Saturday mornings at Blind Brook High School in Rye Brook.
“Kids, just their smiles, everyone is enjoying the day, that’s what really matters to me,” the former Yankees star said through an interpreter.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Matsui ran clinics in New York and Japan several times a year. It was his first after the pandemic. But he is hoping to do more to stay active and spread his love for the sport. After the clinic, he questioned the children and gave autographs.
“Hopefully we can start doing that and get back to regular time,” said Matsui, a two-time All-Star and World Series champion with the Yankees, who scored 175 home runs during his 10-year MLB career. . “I played in Japan and America. For me, it’s a really simple concept: Through this clinic, I like to interact and just have everyone enjoy the day, enjoy the clinic, enjoy baseball. hope they do something like this [remember] And keep playing baseball.”
Matsui, 48, is enjoying retirement these days. After spending recent time as a special advisor to general manager Brian Cashman, he is no longer working for the Yankees, devoting himself to their two children. Matsui, who still lives in the area and watches the Yankees a lot, said he thinks they may go too far in October.
He also follows Japanese countryman Shohei Ohtani and is amazed at what the Angels Two-Way star has been able to do since coming to America four years ago.
“He’s an incredible player. He’s doing something that’s really never been done before, both as a pitcher and a position player, and doing them at a very high level,” Matsui said. “That in itself, is already incredible. What he’s doing is extraordinary.”