With the Tigers hanging on to 2nd place in the Central league, they acquired a key player to help add scoring punch at this critical juncture. The Red Sox had Big Papi. The SF Giants have the Kung-fu Panda (Sandoval, who rejoined the team). And now the Hanshin Tigers have added The Panda, Jason Rogers.
Rogers was added to the lineup when Itoi suffered an injury that sidelined him. When Rogers got his first start, he made an immediate impact in hitting for 2 home runs, scoring 5 RBIs, on 3 hits. What really makes him impressive when you watch him at bat is how he swings. His swing is smooth and looks effortless, but when he makes contact with the ball, you can really hear that boom as it heads towards the fences. That swing is very reminiscent of one Manny Ramirez, who happens to be one of the greatest hitters of all time. We would be getting way ahead of ourselves if we put him in that rarified air, but there is a similar ‘must watch’ tension whenever he is up at bat.
You can see how his swing compares to Manny’s here.
Rogers has already won the hearts of Hanshin fans and it isn’t just about his production. His easy going demeanor, cheerful grin, and personality that plays to the crowd has made him a fan favorite. His team mates also seem to feed off his energy, with infectious laughs and high fives. Even the manager, the always stoic Kanemoto (Aniki), can’t help but smile and give enthusiastic high fives whenever he passes by after hits. I will be looking forward to seeing more of him as he has definitely made this season a lot more fun since his arrival!
Please check out the new Panda shirts! Available now!
Also coming soon!