Offseason Q&A: Atsushi Toriida
Does it feel like baseball season yet? My scorebook arrived in the mail today, and the weather’s been significantly better already than it was at the start of last season – so, in a way, yes. Jason and I will be heading down to Florida soon for a week at spring training, but most of the Nationals players, coaches and executives are already there. I caught up with one of them last week – Chiefs trainer Atsushi Toriida, who’ll return for his second year with Syracuse in 2012.
How much travel has gone into your offseason?
A lot. After the season, my parents came over from Japan for the first time – my uncle, aunt, wife and kids all came together. At that time I was in Washington, D.C., so we did a tour in D.C. We went to New York after that and stayed there three or four days and then flew to Niagara Falls. Then we came back to New York and then they flew out to Japan. My wife and kids drove down to Florida and we stayed here until the beginning of December. Then we flew back to Japan December 1st or 2nd. We stayed at my wife’s place for about a week, then we went to my parent’s place which is about two hours away by plane. We stayed there for about a month, then flew back to my wife’s place for about two weeks, then came back to Florida January 24th. So…we’ve been traveling a lot. *laughs*
How tough has that been on your kids?
My daughter just started going to school this month. She’s only three years old and she’s going to pre-K in Florida and she loves it. My son is just one so he doesn’t have to worry about school yet.
So how did the offseason feel for you?
It was good. I spent a lot of time with my family and my wife’s family, we get together a lot from Christmas to New Year’s. My parents love to see my kids.
When did you find out you were coming back to the Chiefs?
Well, my contract is up at the end of October so usually they call or email me every year. They said you’re going back at the end of October, so that’s what I expected after the season finished because I didn’t see any moves on the big league side.
How much will you miss Randy Knorr this year?
A lot. Not only me, but all of Syracuse will miss him a lot. But we get Tony Beasley, who’s a pretty good guy. I like him a lot, too. We can have a lot of fun with Tony.
This seems like it will be another fun coaching staff.
Definitely. I know (new Chiefs hitting coach) Troy Gingrich, we’ve been on the same team for three or four years. Last year was a different kind of fun. Tony’s a pretty successful manager in the minor leagues, so we expect to win more. The fact I know the hitting and pitching coaches already makes it easier for me to work with them.
Is anything different now that you’re going into your second year in Triple-A?
As a trainer, every year is different. I can’t really expect whats going to happen, I need to prepare for anything. Traveling-wise last year, there was stuff I’d never done before, like flying to different cities. But I can prepare a lot of things before the season starts, hotels and flying and such, because I now know how it goes. So that’s going to give me a lot of confidence. Last year I was excited to go to Triple-A, but this year I feel more confident and like I can prepare a lot of things better this year.
What was the highlight of your offseason?
My daughter turned three years old last year. In Japan at ages three and seven we have some kind of traditional ceremony. Usually, people do it in the summertime, but we did that in December after we get back home. She and my wife dressed up in kimonos, and we went to a shrine to do some ceremony stuff.
How much are you looking forward to the season?
As an organization, a lot of people expect the major league team to do better than in the past. Since I started working for the organization, we really didn’t have a lot of winning big league teams in the organization, but this year will be different. We expect the MLB team to win. That’s going to give a lot of motivation and confidence to the minor league teams. That’s something new to me.