The Mariners obviously have close connections to Japan, and news of the massive earthquake yesterday was being followed with great concern.
Ichiro arrived in the clubhouse at about 8:45 a.m., and several reporters asked to speak to him. He declined through his interpreter, Antony Suzuki, saying he didn’t want to speak to the media (including those from Japan) while the story was still developing and he didn’t have full information. Ichiro did say that he has been unable to contact his family because of phone difficulties. Ichiro’s parents live in the Nagoya prefecture, between Kobe and Tokyo.
“We don’t know yet because cell phones and power are down. There are 4 million people without power in Tokyo,” Ichiro said, speaking through Suzuki.
Hide Sueyoshi, the Mariners director of minor league and international administration, and a native of Osaka, said he was able to contact his family in Osaka and they were fine
“My mother was at the bus station and felt a big wave,” Sueyoshi said. “She thought she had dizziness. But people next to her said, ‘That’s an earthquake.’ ”
Sueyoshi said he reached one friend in Tokyo who needed six hours to walk home because the trains were stopped. He said he reached the Mariner scout in Yokohama, Yasushi Yamomoto, and he was OK, but his house had been out of power since the earthquake, and the family was using candle light.
“I heard there was an exhibition game in Yokohama Stadium when the earthquake hit,” Sueyoshi said. “They stopped and all the fans went to the field to be safe.”
Other friends were in the Tokyo Dome hotel. “They felt a big shake, but they are fine.”
Sueyoshi was unable to contact friends with the Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team in Sendai City, near the epicenter. Sueyoshi didn’t know if the Golden Eagles were traveling for exhibition games or at home. There is, however, reportedly a message on the team’s twitter feed indicating the players are safe.
Antony Suzuki, Ichiro’s interpreter, said he was able to reach his wife, who was visiting in Tokyo, and she is fine. Sueyoshi said he has heard that the family of associate athletic trainer Takayoshi Morimoto are OK as well.