The Arizona Diamondbacks are gaining fans…even on the other side of the world.
General manager Kevin Towers, Team President Derrick Hall, Special Assistant Luis Gonzalez and Senior Vice President of Communications Josh Rawitch returned Tuesday from a week in Japan promoting the franchise and visiting some of the countries baseball destinations.
“The trip was incredible,” Gonzalez told Brad Cesmat Thursday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “It was a great opportunity to go down there and kinda put the flag down in Japan and let them know that we’re here and we have open relationships with teams now. It was well worth it.”
Gonzo said the game is played at an extremely high level overseas with great attention to detail which caught the eye of the Diamondbacks traveling party. The style of play is different in Japan compared to here in the United States. There is more emphasis on bunting and stealing bases, compared to lineups stacked with power hitters that you see in Major League Baseball. Actually, most of the power hitters are the one’s they recruit from the U.S.
One aspect of their preparation caught the attention of Gonzo during the visit.
“Their work ethic is unbelievable,” Gonzo explained to Cesmat. “They have an hour and a half batting practice. They have their own batting practice pitchers that throw game speed. They’re not up there taking BP like we do in the States. It’s quite a spectacle.
He said every player gets to the park early and spends equal time working to improve every aspect of their game. Whether it’s hitting, fielding, bunting or strength and conditioning there is little wasted time between drills.
Gonzalez said the trip, as a whole, was a big success.
“Our goal was go there and meet with some teams and let them know that we want to have open relationships,” he said. “If they have free-agent guys over there that want to come here, you always want them to have the Diamondbacks in their mind to think this would be a great place to come play.”