Texas Rangers Win the Rights to Yu Darvish

December 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

5880327.binMajor League Baseball’s Texas Rangers emerged victorious from a blind bidding process for the services of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Texas’ winning bid exceeded $51 million American dollars, and that merely secured the exclusive right to negotiate a contract with Darvish. The Toronto Blue Jays were reportedly the runners-up with an unspecified bid.

Darvish is the son of an Iranian father, Farsad Darvishsefad, and a Japanese mother, Ikuyu.  The two of them met in the United States, in Florida. Farsad’s father was a travel agent in Iran, and sent Farsad to the United States in 1977 to attend high school in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, where he also raced competitively in motocross.

Farsad played soccer at Eckerd College, a liberal arts school in St. Petersburg until the U.S. embassy takeover in 1979 and the coach benched him. He later worked at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash., where the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks used to train. “When I was working in the cafeteria I used to watch them carry two trays — one was a milk tray, one was a food tray, so it was very huge, a very nice experience,” Farsad said in a 2008 interview with ESPN.com. “And of course I cheered for the Seahawks.” The family subsequently moved to Japan to raise a family.

Yu, who also goes by the Iranian name Farid, began playing baseball in the second grade in Japan. And he quickly ascended up the ranks. Eventually he became the ace pitcher for the powerhouse baseball program at Tohoku High. And his success carried over to the Japanese professional ranks, with the Fighters of Nippon-Ham.

Darvish has garnered the attention of American baseball scouts since he was a teenager. And the attention grew even further with the high profile international exposure that came with pitching in the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as in the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a member of the Japanese national team. And, ultimately he became too tantalizing for American professional baseball to resist, and the Texas Rangers paid for his rights.

But Darvish isn’t just about the money. In February of 2007 he established a humanitarian fund dedicated to the construction, installment, and maintenance of wells, well pumps, and rainwater storage facilities in developing countries called the “Yu Darvish Water Fund.” He has also announced plans to contribute to this fund by donating 100,000 yen each time he notches a regular season win. The fund is managed by the Japan Water Forum.

The 25-year-old Darvish had in fact been going through some tough times in his personal life in recent months having recently been divorced from his wife. But the prospect of a new life and a new challenge in American baseball should do well to boost his spirits.

13-52

Muslim Baseball Fans Lose Jersey to Hall of Famer

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

roberto-alomar-aids
File:  Roberto Alomar

Life-long Toronto Blue Jays fans Fiyaz Kanji and Owais Farooqui have moved away from Toronto, where they grew up, but they remain loyal. The pair even made the trip to Cooperstown from Boston over the weekend to see Roberto Alomar’s enshrinement as the team’s first Hall of Famer. But in an odd twist of fate, and clearly part of a misunderstanding, Alomar took a jersey from them during his parade procession and the pair have yet to retrieve it.

Kanji and his wife, Azra, now live in Boston. Farooqui, who lives in Los Angeles, had flown to Boston to see his friends after a stop in Seattle for work. The three of them left Boston at 6 a.m. Saturday to make the four-hour-plus drive to Cooperstown. Once they arrived, they wanted to get an Alomar T-shirt, but on this day, anyway, they were tough to find in the right size. “It was a shirt that everyone was buying,” Farooqui told Deadspin.com. “All day I was looking for that shirt.”

Farooqui finally bought a shirt to his liking for around $50. The group then lined up for the parade, which was held the day before Sunday’s induction ceremony. Farooqui held the shirt and waved it, hoping to get Alomar’s attention, while Kanji took video footage that has been placed on YouTube and has gone viral.

“He called me over,” said Farooqui. “I thought he was just going to shake my hand or give me a high-five. He took the shirt and waved it a little. I thought maybe he would autograph it or something. He just turned and kept going.”

After realizing they probably weren’t getting the shirt back, Farooqui and the Kanjis raced to the end of the parade route, hoping maybe to get Alomar’s attention. But Alomar ducked into the Hall before they could get to him.

“We were excited he took it at first,” Kanji told Deadspin. “Then we realized we weren’t going to get it back. I want the damn shirt back.” The latest word has the Toronto Blue Jays making contact with the two men, with the possibility of compensation in the form of other gifts. But there is no word yet as to whether the jersey in question makes it back into the hands of its rightful owners.

13-31