September 29, 2023

Dragon Esdelsur

Home Sweet Home

Tsuyoshi Shinjo flies hovercraft in Nippon-Ham Fighters opener

Former Met Tsuyoshi “Big Boss” Shinjo made his managerial debut with the Nippon-Ham Fighters Tuesday, and his entrance was nothing short of exhilarating.

Shinjo, who played for the Mets and Giants from 2001-03, took flight on a hovercraft inside the Sapporo Dome before the team’s home opener against the Saitama Seibu Lions.

The footage shows Shinjo, 50, operating the air cushion vehicle as a spotlight follows him across the field. His entrance—in which he also wore a tinted face helmet, white pants and a red jacket—included climactic music.

Shinjo eventually made a smooth landing on the field. He then removed his helmet and jacket before strutting across the diamond.

Although his entrance was successful, the Fighters’ opener ended in a 4-0 loss to the Lions, dropping them to 0-4 on the season.

Shinjo is the first-ever Japanese player to appear in a World Series game, having done so in 2002 with the Giants, who lost to the Angels in seven games. After three seasons in the majors, Shinjo was demoted to Triple-A. He later returned to Japan to finish out his career and won his first and only Japan Series title in his final game as a professional player.

Tsuyoshi Shinjo playing for the Mets in 2001
Tsuyoshi Shinjo playing for the Mets in 2001
Getty Images

Shinjo wears many hats in his native Japan. He makes frequent television appearances and has his own clothing line. In 2004, Shinjo also won the Japanese version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”