When it comes to making an entrance, former Major Leaguer Tsuyoshi Shinjo has us all beat.
Shinijo, widely known as “Big Boss,” made his home debut as manager of Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters by flying inside the stadium on a hovercraft. As Shinjo levitated into the air and across the field, the Sapporo Dome was filled with intense music, lights, and sound effects.
He walked off the hovercraft and into the spotlight after removing his helmet in a spectacular gesture. Then, as the music became louder, he removed his jacket and flung it to the side.
Shinjo was astride the craft, which was an XTURISMO Limited Edition hoverbike with multiple rotors on a black, ATV-like body and seat, according to a tweet from baseball podcast Farm to Fame.
The vehicle is produced in Japan and costs 77.7 million yen, roughly $680,000. It’s doubtful whether Shinjo bought the bike or if it was part of a promotional strategy. However, only approximately 200 were produced during the first production run.
Although the Nippon-Ham Fighters were defeated 4-0 by the Saitama Seibu Lions, Shinjo’s spectacular appearance won the game.
Between 2001 and 2003, Shinjo played for the Mets and the Giants, becoming the first Japanese-born player to appear in a World Series.