Chicago Shimpo
Japanese Pitcher Toyama Joins Schaumburg Boomers

• Japanese pitcher Shinya Toyama joined the Schaumburg Boomers, a Frontier League, on April 25. Twenty-two-year old Toyama is a throw-right-bat-right pitcher standing 6’2” in height and 205 pounds in weight.
• He started playing baseball when he was a third grader. He joined a baseball team in Seibudai Chiba high school and continued to play in Kanagawa University. Through Tadahiro Ogino, former significant pitcher in Chiba Lotte Marines, he was introduced to Takashi Miyoshi, who has been coaching a team under the Minnesota Twins. Those relationships brought Toyama to participate in California Winter League (CWL), a tryout league, last February.

• In the first game of CWL, Toyama got three strikeouts during two innings and marked his own record of 90 miles/hour. In the total of five innings, he got nine strikeouts, so his pitching drew attentions form coaches and directors in the baseball field. The Schaumberg Boomers was one of them to pay attention to him and made a contract with him on February 25. Toyama, who has kept strong will to play baseball, made his dream came true during CWL. He, of course, aims to get into MLB in the future.

Interview with Toyama

• Q: Did you start playing baseball as a pitcher when you were third grader?

• Toyama: I really started pitching after I entered middle school. Then I entered Seibudai Chiba high school, which was sometimes ranked as best 16 in Chiba Prefecture, but there was no chance to compete in Koshien, National High School Baseball Championship.

• Q: So you entered Kanagawa University’s baseball team?

• Toyama: I’ve always put baseball as the center of my mind. Fortunately I had a close friend in the college, so I went there to take a selection test and was accepted.

• Q: Did you plan to come to the U.S. during your college life?

• Toyama: To tell you the truth, there was no chance to continue to play in Japan. That’s why I sought a way through Mr. Miyoshi.

• Q: How did you feel when you got 90 miles/hour and nine strikeouts during five innings?

• Toyama: Yes. I felt confidence about the results and thought that I might be able to play in the U.S.

• Q: Do you think that you were unlucky during your time in the college team?

• Toyama: While I admit that my ability was not enough, there were 30 to 40 pitchers in the team so that competition was really severe and very difficult to establish my own results. Actually I was given no chance to go to a mound to show my pitching. That’s why I sought a chance in the U.S.
• My pitching video was sent to the Schaumburg Boomers, so I think that they picked me up. I’m very pleased to join the team here.

• Q: Is your contract with Boomers for a year?

• Toyama: I heard that the team would cut a player if he got injured or couldn’t show his ability enough. So every day is seriously important to me.

• Q: How do you feel about Schaumburg?

• Toyama: I’m a lone Japanese here with no translator, but it’s O.K. I liked English study, so I can communicate with the team. The people in the team are very kind to me. If I didn’t make sense, they repeatedly explain any matter until I got it. I haven’t faced any difficulty so far, and I think that Schaumburg is offering a wonderful environment to me.
• I’ve been staying with a host family. There are two other team members with me. So I have nothing to worry about. I’m paid but I can make living without money because my host family takes care of everything what I need.

• Q: I watched Boomers’ website and found 17 pitchers.

• Toyama: There are some invited pitchers, and I think if they are qualified, they will be able to join the team. So there are about 20 plus pitchers.

• Q: Competition seems to be hard. What are your advantages?

• Toyama: Knuckle curve! Not many pitchers can do that.

• Q: Great! Do you have any strategy to control your mind when you face competition or winning a game?

• Toyama: I don’t think about my mental phase. I believe that keeping good skills makes success. If you cannot make a good performance, you should find what’s wrong with your skills and then you modify them. I’m sure that if you have good skills and keep good conditions, you can win a game.

• Q: Thank you very much.

Japanese pitcher Shinya Toyama at the Boomers Stadium