Know Your Darvish

Sooner or later, we’re going to see Yu Darvish in a Major League uniform. It might even be as soon as next season, though that decision has yet to be made.

Much has been written about the accomplishments that have led to the of hype and interest in Darvish’s eventual move to MLB, but not so much about the man himself. He’s an interesting guy, and we live in the information age, so let’s fix that.

• Darvish is half-Iranian, but was born and raised in Japan. His Farsi name is Farid.
• His nickname is Daru, a shortening of the Japanese pronunciation of his surname, “Darubisshu.”
• He blogs and tweets in Japanese, but gave those up because of tough practices.
• He is the only pitcher in NPB history to assemble five-straight sub-2.00-ERA seasons. Old timers Masaichi Kaneda and Kazuhisa Inao each had strings of four consecutive seasons, but they did it in the deadball era of the 1950s.
• Darvish played ice hockey as a child.
• He established the Yu Darvish Water fund in 2007, and he supports it with JPY 100,000 (about $1,200) per win. Darvish donated JPY 50 million (about $600,000) to relief efforts following this year’s devastating Tohoku Earthquake.
• According to a tweet from Feb. 17, Darvish has “no interest whatsoever in cars” and he “doesn’t have a license.” In 2008, he referred to an exercise bike as his favorite car.
• He experimented with a “gyro-cutter” in his 2010 NPB All-Star appearance.
• He’s also tried a one-seam fastball.
• Darvish likes to throw lefthanded in spring training (video clip).
• According to Wikipedia, his entry song is Like Toy Soldiers, by Emienem (I’ve never noticed it though).

It occurs to me that many Major League Baseball fans are forming opinions about Darvish without ever really having seen him pitch. Don’t be that guy. Be an informed Fangraphs reader, and watch Darvish’s last 2011 start here.

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Patrick Newman is a veteran enthusiast of Japanese baseball who happens to write about it at, and on Twitter @npbtracker.

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Gyro-cutter video broken within your link.

Pitch FX or it didn’t happen.