[Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction. The author has taken dramatic liberties with the personalities of any real person portrayed within this story.

Note: when reading this, keep in mind the fact that the exchange rate is roughly 100 yen per 1 US dollar]

The Soap Boxers has had some well placed sources eavesdropping on the Manny Ramirez situation. As a result, TCO is the first media outlet to bring you this breaking news – Manny Ramirez has signed with the Tigers.

No, not those Tigers. The Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Central League. TCO sent our Chief Observation Officer, reporter Scoop Chevelle, to the Ramirez compound to get the inside information. When Scoop arrived on the scene, Manny was dressed in a kimono, resting in his Lazyboy and sipping some red sake.

Scoop: Manny, I must say that I am shocked at this news, as is the rest of the sports world. It really seemed to come out of nowhere. Why did you decide to sign with Hanshin?

Manny: Well, Scoop, they offered me a three year deal at thirty million yen per year. Thirty million! I was having a lot of difficulty getting the Dodgers to give me even twenty five, and then Hanshin drops in with an initial offer of thirty. Needless to say, I was very impressed. I was able to negotiate the deal myself – I didn’t even involve Boras in the deal.

Scoop: Are you sure that it was wise move to negotiate the deal without an agent?

Manny: Yeah, I saved a few bucks cutting Scott out of the deal. He takes a big chunk of the money.

Scoop appears to be on the verge of making a comment, then thinks better of it and remains silent.

Manny: Also, they’re naming the stadium after me. Very cool.

Scoop: How familiar are you with the Japanese culture? Do you expect to have any difficulty adjusting to a new country?

Manny: Me, have trouble adjusting? No, way, man. I’m like a chameleon. Manny the chameleon is what they called me in Boston. I blend in wherever I go. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the Japanese culture. I love egg rolls and fortune cookies, and I’m anxious to see that wall that everyone is always talking about.

After wrapping up that interesting interview, Scoop jumped on TCO’s private jet and flew across the Pacific Ocean to talk to Hanshin manager Akinobu Okada.

Scoop: Congratulations on signing Manny Ramirez, Mr. Okada.

Okada: Thank you Scoop. We were actually pleasantly surprised at how quickly we were able to negotiate a deal with Mr. Ramirez. We think we have a deal that is fair to both sides.

Scoop: Manny mentioned that Hanshin will be naming the stadium after him. Is that really true?

Okada: That’s not quite true. We’re actually naming the field after him. We will play on Manny Ramirez field at Koshien Stadium. You might say that we’re taking a page out of the book of your Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Scoop: What do you expect from Manny? Do you anticipate any problems with his adjustment to the Japanese style of baseball?

Okada: We think that Mr. Ramirez can really help strengthen our offense. Hanshin not won a Japan Series since 1985 nor a Central League title since 2005. Our fans deserve a title. We feel that signing Mr. Ramirez gave us the best chance to win. We certainly don’t expect any problems with Mr. Ramirez’s adjustment. The American players typically adjust fairly quickly to the mindset that the players must always follow the orders of the manager. We foresee a quick adjustment for Mr. Ramirez.

Scene shifts to TCO Studio

Scoop: Well, there you are, folks. After months of wooing Manny, the Dodgers had him stolen away at the last minute by Japan’s Hanshin Tigers. The addition of Manny should put Hanshin in a position to battle Central League juggernaut Yomirui for the league title.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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