Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and acting Giants skipper Kai Correa stood for a photo as they exchanged pregame lineup cards. They were believed to be the first managers or head coaches of Asian descent to face each other in any of the four major U.S. sports.
Freddie Freeman made a little history of his own by hitting his 59th double of the season. He then scored on a three-run homer by J.D. Martinez, lifting NL West champion Los Angeles past San Francisco 6-2 on Sept. 29.
Wilmer Flores homered and hit an RBI single for the Giants, who were managed by bench coach Correa. San Francisco fired manager Gabe Kapler earlier in the day, three games before the end of his fourth season.
Roberts cherished the moment with Correa.
“Obviously he’s heavy-hearted right now. He and Gabe have a good relationship, but for me as an Asian American to be able to exchange lineup cards with Kai, I’m proud of him and what he’s done and what he’s doing,” Roberts said.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him. It’s good for the game in the sense that someone that didn’t play professional baseball or big league baseball has reached the heights that he has. That’s good for people that look like us. … When you step back for a second and realize the significance, it’s big.”
Correa said he thanked Roberts “for representing our shared background and creating opportunities for folks who look like me,” adding: “I’m glad I got to have that moment.”
Correa is reportedly of Japanese, Portuguese and Hawaiian descent.
Nichi Bei News columnist Jeff Asai, a Yonsei who grew up attending the San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Church, writes from the town of Asuka, Nara Prefecture, where he serves as an assistant minister at a Jodo-shu temple, Jokokuji, teaches English and lives with his wife Yae Hosokawa with their children Madoka and Yui. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei News.