MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Brewers have some pretty good depth this season - especially in the outfield. One of those players has traveled a long way to get to Milwaukee, and whether he plays or sits, there is always a group clamoring to hear his view of the game.
When the Brewers signed Norichika Aoki - one of the best hitters in the Japanese Central League, he was not alone in making Milwaukee home. "I'm thankful I've got this much attention," Aoki said.
For every game since Spring Training, there's been a solid contingent of Japanese media assigned to exclusively cover the six-time Golden Glove winner and his team. Most of the regulars have plenty of experience covering baseball, traveling around the country with other famous Japanese players. From photographers, to reporters and even segment directors and producers - all are responsible for bringing Aoki's story to the fans in Japan.
The biggest challenge hasn't been cultural at all. Instead, it's explaining to the Japanese fans why Aoki's role is so limited. "They might have been surprised, but I've wanted to play here. Been one of my dreams," Aoki said.
From a media relations standpoint, the additional reporters haven't made much difference. By now, the pros go about their business like anyone else.
Much like last season when Takashi Saito was on the team, Aoki's presence does expand the audience for the Brewers and adds an even greater international flare to the clubhouse and beyond.
At the end of the day, the big story is still baseball which translates into any language.
Because of their own media affiliations, the Japanese reporters didn't want to go on camera, but say they've enjoyed their time in Milwaukee thus far.