FUKUOKA — Max Maconachy grew up in Chicago, watching the Cubs and White Sox. But after spending more than a decade in Fukuoka, baseball is the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks for him.
Max — that’s what he’s more commonly called in Fukuoka — was recruited by the Hawks to become the stadium disk jockey for their home games at Yahoo Dome, while he hosted his own radio show on an FM station, four years ago.
“They heard me on the radio program and contacted me,” Max, 37, said during the Pacific League Climax Series final stage between the Hawks and Chiba Lotte Marines last week. “And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, it’s great.’ “
Since then, he has been the voice of the club and become a popular figure among the Hawks fans in the northern Kyushu area.
Max’s main job duties involve entertaining the audience that visits the ballpark.
From emceeing in pre-game shows to introducing the starting lineups, to interviewing the fans in the stands during innings, Max, fluent in Japanese, runs all over the place during games.
Max has his radio show, “The Max Show,” weekdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Kyushu International FM (“Love FM”), and then he commutes to the dome to handle stadium D.J. duties. Working at the radio during the day and at the ballpark at night can be tiring, he admitted.
But Max said that it is a “long day” when he has to take care of them both. But he shows no sign of fatigue on the field. He appears to enjoy sharing every moment with the fans inside the dome.
“I feel extremely lucky that people were wiling to give me the chance to do this,” said Max. “Because, obviously, I’m not a native Japanese. My Japanese is functional, but it’s not at a native level by any stretch of an imagination.”
Unlike his humbleness, which may be affected by his longtime experience in Japan, Max is seen on local and national Japanese TV shows and commercials. He also does voice-over on radio and TV, including for NHK.
In his fourth year doing this gig with the Hawks, Max spent the longest period with the team and its loyal fans in the 2010 campaign as the team advanced to the CS final stage.
The Hawks, the regular-season pennant winners, had a legitimate chance to go to the Japan Series for the first time in seven years, but fell one win shy of earning a trip to the Japan Series.
Max sorrowfully said one day after the conclusion of the series that he felt “defeated” as the team’s and his baseball season came to an end without achieving their ultimate goal: an appearance in Japan’s Fall Classic.
But he also added that he was so touched by the fact that the Hawks fans accepted the loss and sent cheers to Marines supporters in the stands after the final game.
“I was so impressed,” Max said, now speaking in Japanese. “I saw the Japanese sportsmanship right there, and I was so proud of the Hawks fans. I’m sure they’ll come back with the same attitude next year.
“And that made me feel like I’ve got to work harder next year.”