/

Yankees, Giants combine might

by Jason Coskrey

There isn’t a global world series yet, though that didn’t stop the Yomiuri Giants and New York Yankees from throwing a party anyway.

For the first time, the Japan Series and World Series trophies were in the same venue as the Yankees’ prize began its Asian tour with a stop at the MLB Cafe in Tokyo on Monday.

Considering the relationship and similarities between the clubs, it’s fitting they would be the two who brought the trophies together.

“We love them,” Yankees president Randy Levine said. “They’ve been great partners. It’s the first time the two trophies have ever been together. The fact that it’s the Giants who won — and also us — it’s exciting and it feels great.

The World Series trophy is scheduled to move on to Beijing then Hong Kong as part of a six-day tour.

“We at the Yankees feel very, very strongly that we have fans all over the world,” Levine said. “We believe that wherever we go, there are Yankees fans.

“Since we were lucky enough to win our 27th world championship, we were determined to reach out to our fans everywhere and create new fans as we go along.”

A big reason for the Yankees’ strong presence in Japan was star slugger Hideki Matsui. The former Giants slugger was the 2009 World Series MVP but signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels over the offseason.

“Clearly he was the face of the franchise here in Japan, there’s no doubt about that,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “He’s going to be missed on many levels. He was a great hitter, he was terrific in our clubhouse, a wonderful competitor and a true winner.”

Levine also praised Matsui for his service with the team.

“We love Hideki,” Levine said. “Hideki Matsui is always going to be a great Yankee. He’s a great person, there’s nobody of better character, and we’re going to miss him.

“Unfortunately the timing didn’t work out. He had an offer from another team, we were focusing on the pitching end first trying to get Andy Pettitte and a few other things internally done, and Hideki decided to go.”

Giants owner Takuo Takihana, U.S. Ambassador John Roos and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman were also in attendance.

“I believe that the Yomiuri Giants and the New York Yankees have the strongest relationship among the baseball community in Japan and the U.S.,” Takihana said. “And I believe that the Yomiuri Giants and the New York Yankees are the strongest sports franchises on this planet.”

The idea of a global world series between the champions of the MLB and NPB has been a hot topic since MLB commissioner Bud Selig and NPB chief Ryozo Kato first broached the idea weeks ago.

“I think it’s certainly something worth exploring,” Cashman said. “For instance you have the two greatest franchises, the Giants here in Japan and the Yankees in the United States, there’s probably not a big enough stadium to hold those two fan bases.

“So I think it’s a great concept to discuss and study and pursue. That’s what the commissioners started talking about. Where it would lead I can’t speak to. I certainly think it’s something worth to pursue.”