When last we heard of Japanese pitching sensation Hideki Irabu, he was drinking beer by the barrel and slugging bartenders back in his homeland. That was apparently just the warmup for his stateside comeback.
Irabu has just signed a minor league contract with (who else?) the Long Beach Armada of the independent Golden Baseball League. That means he will be in a 2009 rotation alongside Jose Lima, a one-two punch of mediocrity that the West Coast won't soon forget. Behold, chumps:
Irabu became the greatest power pitcher in professional baseball history [emphasis added] in Japan before coming to the U.S. in the mid 90s and winning two World Series titles with the New York Yankees. "Hideki Irabu is a tremendous addition to our pitching staff," said Long Beach Armada Manager Garry Templeton. "I'm looking forward to the skill, experience, and professionalism that a player of his caliber will bring to the club and believe that this will be a great place for him to demonstrate that he is ready to return to the top levels of the game here or in Japan."
...He has spent the last two years re-habbing and getting back into pitching shape. Now healthy and with a fastball clocked at 92+ already this month he is determined to show that he can once again contribute to the success of an MLB or NPB team.
"What a treat for our fans," said Long Beach Armada General Manager Tony Soares. "Jet balloons, hachimakis, and sushi will all be available at Blair Field this year along with a chance to watch a true baseball superstar perform!"
Did anyone tell Garry Templeton about the jet balloons? This will be the greatest Armada since the Spanish one and I predict an equally impressive and sudden flameout.
LB Armada Blog: Hello, Hideki [LB Armada Blog]