I don’t usually associate Brazil and baseball. But thanks to Greg Weeks for pointing to a NYT article, which notes that baseball was introduced to Brazil by Japanese immigrants. (Brazil has one of the largest and oldest overseas Japanese communities.)
Sixteen of the twenty players on Brazil’s national team for the Pan American Games are of Japanese descent. The manager is addressed as sensei and many of the terms used for the game are Japanese words. Some of the coaches are Cubans, who, according to the Times, “describe Brazilian players as showing a rare mixture of Japanese discipline and dedication, and Latin American passion and flair.” Now, that would be an interesting combination–what we saw on display in the great WBC Final, only all in one team (though it occurs to me that I am not sure how one combines “discipline” and “flair”).*
There is currently one Brazilian player in the Phillies’ system, Gilmar Pereira, a right-handed pitcher, 19 years old, and with a 95-MPH fastball. There are two outfielders in the White Sox’s system, Anderson Gomes dos Santos and Paulo Roberto Orlando, and a pitcher in the Blue Jays’ system, Jo Matumoto. There is also a 26-year-old first baseman, Daniel Yuichi Matsumoto, from Brazil who plays for the Yakult Swallows (whose ownership has helped build the Brazilian national team’s ballpark in SÃ£o Paulo.
Good luck to the Brazilians in the Pan American Games. They will need it. Brazil is in the same first-round group as the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.