When Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie stares down batter Travis Ishikawa, the San Francisco Giants left-fielder, it might be the first time two fourth-generation Japanese Americans go head-to-head in a World Series.
That Game Three scenario could happen as the World Series moves to San Francisco, and it would be far from trivial.
Still, he said, “I feel a strong tie with Japanese culture, but I don’t know why. I feel close to Japanese players." He added that he feels there is a sense of “Japaneseness” in him that’s different from other American players.
Guthrie almost gave up baseball in college. After a mediocre freshman season at Brigham Young University, he went on a two-year Mormon mission to Spain.
After Spain, Guthrie was invited to join Stanford University’s baseball team. He started and pitched in the 2001 College World Series.
A Stanford coach and Guthrie’s family and friends from Oregon will reportedly be in attendance to watch his first ever World Series appearance. But facing Ishikawa, a fellow fourth-generation Japanese American in the World Series would be an ethnic milestone.
Ishikawa, who grew up in Washington, and whose grandparents were placed in a WWII internment camp, has been a post-season hero for San Francisco. His dramatic NLCS game 5 homer sent the Giants to the World Series.