SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As Yu Darvish threw to hitters for the first time this spring, his father, wearing a white Nike cap stood out of the way of the throng of media.
Farsad Darvishsefad (shortened to Darvish) isn’t surprised by all the attention his son is receiving as he prepares to pitch in the major leagues for the first time.
“Since junior high school he’s been with the media you’re seeing around like it is here,” Farsad said. “He tries to command when he wants to talk and when he doesn’t. His concern is winning. If he’s winning, the media is fine. He’s not there to satisfy the media, no offense. He has to win, otherwise you guys won’t be around either.”
Farsad believes his son will handle any kind of added pressure or stress fine, mostly because he’s pitched in key games and in front of large crowds before.
“He’s pitched on big stages, believe me,” Farsad said. “He’s not the type of guy that will feel nervous. In high school in Japan, 45,000 people are watching an 18-year-old kid on mound and the cheering in Japan is very organized and it never stops. He’s used to it.”
Darvish certainly received plenty of attention Thursday, and that was just the first full day of workouts for Rangers pitchers and catchers. With more than 100 media pointing cameras in his direction, Darvish stretched, threw off flat ground with teammate Derek Holland and then threw a five-minute bullpen session to catcher Mike Napoli and then threw 19 pitches to a few minor league batters. Only a couple of them made contact and most just watched as Darvish threw his assortment of pitches, including a two-seam and four-seam fastball, slider, curve ball, changeup and splitter.
Darvish’s father took it all in and then watched as the media and plenty of fans followed his son back toward the clubhouse.
Farsad knows his son must make some adjustments to life in a new country and on a mound in the major leagues. That includes pitching every fifth day, something Farsad isn’t concerned about. He said Darvish, like other Japanese pitchers, worked hard in between starts, so altering the schedule would just be a matter of getting used to a new routine. Farsad said his son has been around enough English that he shouldn’t have too much trouble picking it up in the coming years.
“But the distance thing will be a big factor,” Farsad said. “It was one hour, maybe two at most in Japan and here, it’s a lot of distance and early morning flights. I’m not worried about it and he’s not either. It’s just different and he has to get used to it.”
Farsad’s sister, Faryel, and her two daughters were also wandering around the back fields Thursday to watch Yu Darvish pitch. They live in California and, like fans and media, were curious to see him perform in a new environment.
Farsad feels like his son picked the perfect time to make the leap to the big leagues.
“He said he wanted to go to a bigger stage and bigger competition and go to a higher level to keep his motivation going,” Farsad said. “He had five years in a row under 2 [ERA] and had little left to accomplish [in Japan]. He made the right decision at the right time, I think.”