Welcome to the Tribe, Kosuke.
After the Cleveland Indians failed to garner a single hit in their Wednesday afternoon game, team President Mark Shapiro could tell his first year GM, Chris Antonetti, was going to have a long night. "Chris was just obviously really upset—he stomped around the hallway for a while, and he kept stepping into my office and doing a sort of whole body shrug, followed by a dramatic exhale," Shapiro said. "When he finally walked by my door with his windbreaker and screamed, 'I'm going out!', I just knew this was not going to end well."
Rudy Tamarindo, a bartender at the Winking Lizard, said that Antonetti came in "around 5:00 pm", and, "just started absolutely raging." Tamarindo reported that Antonetti bought several rounds of drinks for the entire bar. A patron at the Lizard, Tara Ludlum, confirmed Tamarindo's account. "Chris was a really nice, sweet guy—he said all the ladies in the bar were going to be 'no-hit, just like the Indians', because he wasn't going to hit on any of them, on account of his being married, I guess." Ludlum paused before adding, "He kept repeating that and laughing. A lot of people didn't understand what he was saying—it's a really long and confusing thing to keep saying."
As the night wore on, and Antonetti became more animated and inebriated, "he really started palling around with that Japanese guy," Tamarindo said. "They were really having a great time, shouting and stuff—I thought they knew each other or something." Around 2:30 am, as the bar started to empty out, Ludlum said she saw Antonetti leave with his new friend.
Thursday morning, Mark Shapiro walked into the Indians facility to try to get a jump on the day's work. "I knew we were going to try to make some acquisitions today, so I wanted to fire up DiamondView, get the lay of the land." Instead he was met by an unusual sight—Antonetti and an unnamed Japanese man, both sleeping on top of a conference room table. "I knew immediately what had happened—Chris brought somebody home from the bar. At first, I thought it was a really bad thing; I mean, Chris is married. But then, looking closer, I saw it was a Japanese guy. Then I thought, 'This is really, really, really bad." When Shapiro was finally able to rouse the two, it became clear that the situation was even more complicated than Shapiro had realized.
"Well, when Chris finally stopped vomiting, he said he didn't have any idea who 'the Asian guy' was. To make things worse, there was a language barrier. So, I got the guy who usually helps Choo, thinking he might be able to help, but I guess Korean and Japanese aren't that similar. We couldn't find anyone else in town, so finally I gave in and called Masahide Kobayashi, whose number I still have. It was awkward for a second, but eventually he was able to sort it all out."
The man that Antonetti had passed out with on a conference room table, it turned out, was Chicago Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. Shapiro was baffled. "I made Chris call Jim Hendry right away and explain what happened, thinking Chris should apologize or whatever. Hendry was actually really excited—he immediately said, 'You should keep him!' That wasn't really on our radar but, frankly, we were so embarrassed that we felt compelled to work out a deal."
Antonetti was terse in describing the acquisition. "We're excited to have Fukudome on the team. We think he's going to be a valuable addition to our outfield."