Tanaka comes from Itami, near Osaka, in western Japan. But he chose to play baseball at a high school in the nation’s far north, 900 miles away. The field froze during the winter months, and suffering the numbing cold was among the ordeals meant to build an athlete’s stalwart character. The boys stamped on the persisting snow, attempting to level the slippery surface for a truer roll of ground balls.
Sobre o Koshien
Every young ballplayer shared a dream, to compete in the national high school tournament, known to most as the Koshien, an event in Japan as compelling as March Madness, as consequential as the World Series. Each August, 49 regional champions vie in the single-elimination tourney. Each game is nationally televised. The best players are plucked from obscurity and elevated to celebrity, as famous as any movie star.
Descrição do principal rival nos tempos de colegial, Yuki Saito
With the temperature on the field sometimes climbing above 100 degrees, Saito had the habit of pulling a folded blue hankie from his pocket to pat the sweat off his face. He was affectionately nicknamed the Handkerchief Prince.