How Giants coach Taira Uematsu chased a dream and made history – The Athletic


Fourteen years after joining the Giants as an unpaid bullpen catcher and training room assistant, Taira Uematsu broke a barrier that even he didn’t know existed.

After being the first to arrive at the ballpark every day in more than a decade, after saying yes to every ungrateful task, from filling pitchers of water in the back fields at 6 a.m. to a pitcher-side session at Off-day of a road trip to throwing thousands upon thousands of center-cut thugs practicing fastballs, and after making himself utterly indispensable to two managers, he becomes the first coach in Major League history to be born in Japan and grew up.

“A dream has come true for me,” said Uematsu, who was promoted from a support position to assistant trainer in November by Giants manager Gabe Kapler. “I didn’t know I was the first. That’s great. But it doesn’t change anything. I did not think about that. I just wanted to be part of this team. “

Kapler was also unaware of the significance. He had no intention of making headlines or history when he promoted Uematsu to fill a position that opened when assistant coach Mark Hallberg was appointed to replace retired third base coach Ron Wotus. It was just the obvious.

“Taira was persistent in his job to support the rest of the staff,” Kapler said via text message. “His work ethic is really second to none. He made it impossible to deny having accepted him on the staff. “

As a result, the first native Japanese speaker on a major league staff is not a former star player. He is not a respected trainer or manager of Yomiuri or Hanshin or Hiroshima.

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