It’s easy to forgot that the game of baseball involves real people. Yesterday I needed that reminder as former Orioles reliever Koji Uehara was dealt to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Tommy Hunter and first baseman Chris Davis.
In his interview following the transaction, Koji reminded me that this game is more than just a business, that it involves real people and affects real families. Here was a guy who uprooted his family from Japan to come to America and play baseball at the highest level. He choose to live in Baltimore year round and on his way out even told the fans that he was sorry for the injuries he suffered during his three years in an Orioles uniform.
Seeing Koji cry reminded me of an important and often overlooked part of baseball, the human element. The Orioles were his first American team and likely the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It must be difficult for that chapter to come to an end.
Koji was definitely loved by the fans in Baltimore and his passion and fire with his teammates will certainly be missed here. Texas is getting one of the hottest relievers in the game and even more than that a great teammate and guy. For that reason, I will be rooting to for the Rangers in the postseason in hopes of seeing Koji get a ring. To me, no one deserves one more than a guy who was truly upset to part ways with a team and city that clearly meant so much to him.