Head West, Norichika

Cleveland Indians v Kansas City RoyalsWith the inevitable news that former Royals outfielder Nori Aoki would be taking his talents out west, signing with the San Francisco Giants, it felt as if a part of me was now missing. I felt incomplete knowing that this slap-hitting savant would no longer give us the privilege of viewing his awkward approach to hitting and his scenic routes in the outfield.


Aoki struggled early on in 2014 but would bounce back in August and by the end of September had pushed his numbers close to what he had performed at over his career. Aoki was a cog in the Royals playoff run this past October and despite some defensive hilarity he put together a solid postseason resume. But Aoki’s accomplishments are not what I will miss about him. Oh no, not at all. In fact, it is safe to say I get much joy out of his injuries. Like, to a sickening degree. Just see for yourself.

kc3Whether it was on defense…

kc4…or at the plate…

kc5…mostly at the plate…

Norichika Aoki…where he got hit by a lot of pitches…

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays…so many that you would think he had a target on his back, and pitchers were aiming…

kc8…but defense was always an adventure…

kc9…those plate appearances though…

kc10…and those faces…

kc12…and sometimes he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time…

kc13…but most of the time it was self induced.

kc11Getting Aoki from Milwaukee last offseason was one of Dayton Moore’s better trades and one that benefited Kansas City in October. You have to wonder if the Royals will be able to replace him, at least when it comes to pure entertainment. Maybe it will be Alex Rios or maybe Edinson Volquez. But most likely we will find out that Aoki was a rare gem that can’t be replaced. Nori Aoki might be gone but he will always remain in our hearts. We’ll always have the memories. Cue the Sarah McLachlan song.


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