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Kazu Sasaki

 
Kazu Sasaki
 
Nickname: Daimajin (translated as "great savior," from a character in a Japanese folk tale about a statue that came to life to ward off evil).
Where do you live? Mercer Island.
First car: An old Nissan. I can't remember the year; only the cost, $3,000. My folks told me I'd probably wreck it, so they didn't want me to waste much money. I got in a wreck a week later.
Fave raves:
Reading -- I like to read car magazines.
Movie -- "Major League." I had a friend who had a part in it, playing an outfielder.
Food -- In Japan, sushi; in the United States, hamburgers.
Hobby: I used to put together remote-control cars.
Seattle place: Driving across the I-90 bridge, looking at the scenery. If I have another wreck, it will be there, because I am looking at the view.
First sports hero: Shigeo Nagashima, the great third baseman of the Tokyo Giants, now their manager.
Your first break came from: An older kid at my junior high school. I had been a good baseball player at my elementary school, and when I got to junior high, you could only be in one club, and I wanted to play basketball or volleyball. This big kid played baseball and told me to play on his team. I don't remember his name, only that he scared me into playing baseball.
If you didn't play baseball, what would you do? I'd probably be in business by myself.
Items you collect: I have autographed jerseys from Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux; one of Madonna's costumes; a racing helmet from Ayrton Senna, the Formula One driver who is now dead. My most prized piece is an All-Star jersey Alex (Rodriguez) gave me, signed by all the All-Stars; and I hope to get a Mariner jersey signed by Alex, too.
Best part of baseball: The excitement and happiness on the team after we win.
First impression of Seattle: When I traveled here as a college student, I was surprised how the sun did not go down for a long time.
First English words: In spring training, I wanted to greet everyone right. I learned, "Nice to meet you."

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Interview by Bob Finnigan through interpreter Allen Turner, The Seattle Times

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