When Taira Uematsu returns home after the big league season, the San Francisco Giants' bullpen catcher spends a lot of time teaching baseball, and the most important lesson may be, "Have fun."

Uematsu rediscovered that fun for the game in the U.S. after three years of repetitive and abusive high school practice in Japan beat his passion out of him. After finishing high school in Chiba Prefecture, Uematsu went to California to learn English, his favorite subject from junior high school. While there, he accidentally fell in love with baseball again.

"After high school, I basically gave up baseball," he told Kyodo News last month. "I had to decide what I was going to do. I talked to my parents. My dad still wanted me to play baseball. But my mom told me not to do it anymore, to think about the future: 'It's better to have some skills or knowledge or certification or something.' "