Haruko Hasumi loves baseball – Japanese baseball, American baseball. She flew from Tokyo to DFW in 1991 and witnessed the seventh and last no-hitter of Nolan Ryan’s career.
First time I met her, she was wearing her SWOBODA 4 Mets jersey outside the Tokyo Dome in 2000. She and the Swoboda family were in Queens for the final days of Shea Stadium in 2008. This year Hasumi began following another team – Nichidai-Fujisawa High School. She has been going to the same dentist, Yasuki Ito, for many years, and this spring his son Rui was a senior on the team.
“I heard that parents cheered for their children every game but they had no time taking photos,” she wrote in an e-mail. “That's why I thought of taking photos for them. At first I introduced myself to the parents, ‘Hi guys, I'm Dr. Ito's patient since 1990.’ That cracks them up.They call me ‘Ms. Patient.’”
Recently, Nichidai-Fujisawa was playing in the Kanagawa Prefecture playoff, the prelude to the famous Koshien national tournament. (Final Four and Super Bowl, wrapped into one.)
In the ninth inning, she caught Rui Ito throwing out a runner at home, and his father cheering in the stands.
But the team lost, which is clear from the mothers’ faces. The players bowed, everybody cheered – and the juniors had to carry the bags to the team bus.
Now Haruko will devote her energy to rooting for the Mets, from afar. And good luck with that.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
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