I discovered a couple of months back that former Yokohama DeNA Baystars outfielder Tomo Otosaka was playing for the York Revolution in the Atlantic League. Otosaka had been the Baystars fifth round pick out of Yokohama High School in the 2011 draft and spent ten years with his hometown team. After DeNA released him after the 2021 season he spent 2022 in the Mexican League playing for the Bravos de Leon and the Saraperos de Saltillo. He'd had previous experience playing in Mexico, spending the 2017-18 and 2018-19 offseasons playing for the Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican Pacific Winter League. He joined York this year and is having a pretty good season for them, hitting .322 and stealing 39 bases as of Sunday's games.
York isn't very far from me - maybe an hour and fifteen minutes - so last Saturday night I decided to head over and see if I could get him to autograph a card for me. It took a little while at the ballpark to figure out where the players came out to the field - usually I look for where the autograph hounds with their binders of cards are stationed but I didn't see any of them. I eventually realized that the Revolution players would be coming out from the right field corner. I briefly talked to one guy hanging out there whose cousin was a relief pitcher on the team. I felt bad for him - he hadn't been able to see his cousin pitch and as it worked out, his cousin didn't pitch in that night's game either.
I didn't have to wait too long before Otosaka appeared. I called out to him as he walked past and he smiled and nodded to me as he kept going to the dugout. I was confused for a minute before a nearby kid told me he'd come back out after dropping his stuff off. And sure enough, a few minutes later Otosaka reappeared and headed right to me. He smiled to see a Japanese card and was kind enough to pose for a photo after signing the card:
Here's the card he signed:
|2021 Epoch NPB #353
Otosaka was batting second and playing center field that night. He went 1-for-4 on the evening, legging out a double in the fourth inning and coming around to score on Drew Mendoza's single. He got on base a second time on a fielder's choice in the eighth inning but was thrown out trying to steal second. The Revolution won the game 2-0, a far cry from the OTHER Atlantic League game I went to this summer. Here's a couple other photos of him from the game:
|Legging out the double
|Patrolling center field - don't know why the field is in such bad shape
|Warming up between innings
|Out at second
One last photo - it was a fireworks night but I didn't stick around to see them. I had parked a little way away from the park and took a look back at it as I headed for my car. I thought it looked really cool lit up like this:
It's really a shame that Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh signed with the Giants after spending just twelve games with the Staten Island Ferryhawks of the Atlantic League. The Ferryhawks are in York this week and it would have reunited him and Otosaka. They were teammates on both the Baystars and Yokohama High School.