baseball

Baseball star Tanaka charters Dreamliner for flight to New York

67 Comments

Japanese baseball sensation Masahiro Tanaka chartered his own Boeing 787 Dreamliner to fly him to New York, with the entire plane taken up by his five-strong party and his pet dog.

The ace pitcher, who has just signed a seven-year deal worth $155 million with the New York Yankees, is believed to have splashed out 20 million yen of his own money on the one-way flight.

"It's a (chartered) private jet. It's not something the Yankees have prepared," he told reporters at Narita Airport near Tokyo on Sunday.

Japan Airlines (JAL) confirmed he used one of its Boeing 787s but declined to disclose further details.

Jiji Press news agency said Tanaka booked out the whole plane -- which usually has about 200 seats -- for a group of five, including him and his wife. His pet dog -- -- a brown Toy Poodle -- was also aboard, the Sports Nippon said.

JAL said the plane had been booked ahead of the heavy snow that hit Japan over the weekend, grounding all regular commercial flights to New York on Sunday and causing travel chaos around the Japanese capital.

Even with the luxury of his own airliner, Tanaka did not escape the weather-induced misery, with his journey from a Tokyo hotel to the airport by car taking eight-and-a-half hours.

Tanaka paid for the plane in order to take part in the team's camp "in the best of form," a Japanese baseball official who accompanied him reportedly said.

He is to hold a press conference at Yankees Stadium on Tuesday before going to Florida for team training camp.

Tanaka, playing for the Sendai-based Rakuten Eagles, was unbeaten last season.

The right-hander went 24-0 with a 1.27 earned-run average and 183 strikeouts with only 32 walks in 212 innings for the Japan Series champion Eagles.

The Dreamliner has suffered a series of glitches since being rolled out by Boeing, most notably with the battery system, which last year saw the global fleet grounded for testing.

No problems were reported with Tanaka's flight.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

67 Comments
Login to comment

LOL. Good to see he hasn't let it go to his head. Enjoy it while it lasts - the NYC media spotlight has a way of making you feel much worse about yourself in a big hurry.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

jeez, did he REALLY have to get to NY that badly? come on! i think the press would have waited an extra day or two for you, tanaka.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like my Dad told me once, "i'm Rich but not stupid" when i ask him why he don't flight first class. lol

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Nice, how about the strippers?!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Before pulling such an idiotic, grandstanding stunt like this, I was hoping Tanaka would kick butt in the Majors. Yet in the span of the ninety seconds it took me to read this most disturbing article, I now hope the jerk loses every game he starts. (First lesson for foreigners coming to the US: don't try to out-Americanize the Americans. It just ain't cool, like when we come to Japan and try to out-Japanize the Japanese.)

8 ( +14 / -6 )

I can see the LV and Rolex now. Nouveau riche rubbish.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

I'm surprised it only cost 20 million yen for a Tokyo-New York flight.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He's a great baseball player with money to throw around now, but was this really necessary? Oh, but being conscious of the environment he probably flew CO2 neutral.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Pretty harsh comments here for the youngster! Maybe its just a thank-you for all his friends and folks for supporting him in his journey to the big time. Then again, with the cash Ma-Kun is on maybe he will basically be living on champagne and caviar for a year or two!

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

This might be one of the few times he has the ability to do this. Why not? Good luck and hope he can back up the statement he's made.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

No quarantine for the dog ?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Tanaka did not escape the weather-induced misery, with his journey from a Tokyo hotel to the airport by car taking eight-and-a-half hours.

well, at least he wasn't late for his flight!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wait... Didn't Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise charter a 747 or something for their jaunt to Japan??

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'll write it again: Professional baseball, football, and hockey players are all over-paid entertainers.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

at least John Travolta pilots his own 747 around...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

An obvious case of incipient megalomania.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

the guy is crazy, he thinks he is cool but spending your hard earned money for a show? even Bill Gates will not be this extravagant.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Even though he can afford it , this is one big " look at me , I'm such a huge star now " wanker gesture. And the award for this year's biggest " narcissist" goes to.........

9 ( +10 / -1 )

why a Dreamliner, money would have been better spent on a smaller luxury Jet with beds lounges etc. and if he really wanted to make a BIG statement why not hire a A380!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I see this guy trying to build confidence for the Dreamliner. Pretty ballsy. I wouldn't want to fly (in) it. Doing it for Boeing, JAL, and ANA.

Besides, look at his contract. Smart guy. Spend it right. I've never seen him pitch but I am sort of a fan after reading this.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good start... he will be broke before his contract is up.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Maybe its just a thank-you for all his friends and folks for supporting him in his journey to the big time.

Well if the five passengers included he and his wife, that would make a total of 3 friends and folks who have supported him.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Not sure I understand the negative comments. It's his money. He can spend it however he wants to.

I've read about much stupider ways of spending money than this.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Looks like his success has gone to his head! Bad sign!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

agree with you slumdog. not to mention the pile of reporters that would've been on the same flight & made it totally miserable . if i won the lottery i'd do the same thing. only have it fly me around the world .

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"The Dreamliner has suffered a series of glitches since being rolled out by Boeing, most notably with the battery system, which last year saw the global fleet grounded for testing.No problems were reported with Tanaka’s flight."

Why does AFP always add statements like this? Why is this relevant to the article?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good for him. Nice PR for Boeing too.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"Let's change the image of Japanese people."

Indeed.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This was a stunt to plug the airline obviously...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I echo Coconut - good for him. Why the hell not, if you've got all that money?? Ah, I just forgot, I'm on a forum mostly populated by Socialist English Teachers!!!

-8 ( +3 / -10 )

"The ace pitcher, who has just signed a seven-year deal worth $155 million with the New York Yankees, is believed to have splashed out 20 million yen of his own money on the one-way flight."

Heck, he can do this 6 more times over the next 7 years and still have $15 million left over.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I would have thought it would have cost a lot more than ¥20M (~$195,000US)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Serrano- what are you doing posting on a message board? you should apply to be his accountant

2 ( +2 / -0 )

$200,000 for this??

compared to the $155 million contract, it's almost a rounding error

3 ( +3 / -0 )

20 million yen is only about 200,000 US dollars. Cold cold NY area now. .Spring training will be soon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't think this has much to do with socialism or what job you do. It's more a question of pointing out when someone is being a twat.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

What a waste. He couldn't have chartered something smaller, like a G650? That's a huge carbon footprint for only 5 people.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Add to the long list of dumb athletes and their money. Easy come easy go!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I agree that it is his money to spend. However.....He better not suck after this. The Yankees have a rep for keeping one's head down and getting it done on the field. Unless of course one's name is Jackson (AKA Mr. October), or A-Roid (AKA Mr. Lying SOB). Now that he's thrown this money down on making a statement, even if unintentionally, he'd better be able to back it up. The NY media are not exactly "touchy-freely".

2 ( +3 / -1 )

at least John Travolta pilots his own 747 around...

Travolta has his own 707 seven zero seven where he is certified as a first officer only.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

feed 20 million children in Africa for a day and take a normal flight and make us all feeling nice including yourself

4 ( +7 / -3 )

so much for saving for retirement...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ali Khan, that is a job for multi billionaire philanthoophist. Tanaka is just a Yankee players. Bill Gate does helping children in poor country. Tanaka is not related to these places you want to give all your income. If you want to help them, give your donation, not someone else;s money . There are enough organizations swindling using helping poor children. .

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I'll write it again: Professional baseball, football, and hockey players are all over-paid entertainers.

Here's the thing, bud: You don't get to decide who's overpaid, the free market does. And it just so happens that professional athletes offer a very valuable service.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Many people in MLB profession express baseball players are very underpaid. Often, their injury requires extensive and unique surgery, Then rehabilitation with permanent disability. They don't get paid like singers or movie stars who don't get their head banged up to walls.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I'm going to bet that he is going to be one of the players who is bankrupt within a few years of retiring... Just a hunch.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@spoony: I haven't heard MLB players bankrupted.

Do you have data? He spent only $200,000. He hasn't purchased a penthouse in Manhattan or Park Avenue.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

At least he paid his own way, unlike certain politicians and their spouses on royal family vacations charging the costs to the people they supposedly represent. Good for him!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This may be a sign that the haves, have a little too much. What a waste of money and another example of how monetary compensation has nothing to do with the value you provide to a society.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The real question is, if the cost to him is 20 million yen (200,000 US) for a plane that holds 200 (or 100,000 yen per seat) how come JAL charges so much more when individuals are booking flights to New York? 100,000 yen per seat is entirely reasonable, yet that's not the average price regular consumers pay.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The real question is, if the cost to him is 20 million yen (200,000 US) for a plane that holds 200 (or 100,000 yen per seat) how come JAL charges so much more when individuals are booking flights to New York? 100,000 yen per seat is entirely reasonable, yet that's not the average price regular consumers pay.

Probably a lot less weight for fuel usage and less cost to service just 5 people and a dog on/off the plane.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

wow, how horrible, he charted an airplane with his own money !!!

He is such a horrible person isn't he ?

I'm sure he deeply cares about what jealousy nobodies think of him

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Hide Suzuki: I'm sure he deeply cares about what jealous nobodies think of him

But he cares what the supporter nobodies think of him?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ha ha I mixed up yen and dollars, I meant to say he can do this 700 more times over the next 7 years and still have $15 million left over.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@The Original Wing

"But he cares what the supporter nobodies think of him?"

of course he should and does care about his supporters, duh

There are always losers who talk crap about you if you are famous. Ignore jealousy losers and treat your fans with respect. is it that hard to understand ?

You think he cries every time someone leaves a negative comment on-line ? LOL

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The question is will he return like he left grand standing or posting out! Im sure everyone in the bigs will hear about this but i can bet you he wont go undefeated in the big leagues.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Are the same people complaining about a private citizen using their own money complaining about how other rich people spend their money?

The man just signed with a major league team and wanted to celebrate. What's with the plane envy? What's with what seems like jealousy in general?

There are much bigger problems in this world and I can't see why this seems to be making so many so hot under the collar.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The man just signed with a major league team and wanted to celebrate. What's with the plane envy? What's with what seems like jealousy in general?

There are much bigger problems in this world and I can't see why this seems to be making so many so hot under the collar.

I agree. If people want to put forward rational agreements as to why it's ridiculous that someone would make so much money just for playing a game, that's one thing. But criticizing the guy for spending the money he has rightfully earned? That's just jealousy.

Hate the game, not the player.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don;t know what is state income tax in NY. We pay almost 40 % of our income to IRS in USA. We deduct annual amount of expenses. In Tanaka;s case, His $200,000 and other moving expense, he can deduct. His contract, my guess is he gets $3m, Then every year $2m, Each year, he has to pay Income tax. Business owners can pay income of their share of partnership but he is a baseball player. He has to pay individual tax. If he buys a house, real extate tax. Then he has to use CPA and Business attorneys. Bunch of expenses.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Strangerland

I agree. If people want to put forward rational agreements as to why it's ridiculous that someone would make so much money just for playing a game, that's one thing. But criticizing the guy for spending the money he has rightfully earned? That's just jealousy.

Jealousy? Not necessarily. I don't think you have to be jealous to see that emiting over 3.5 metric tons of CO2 for five passengers vice 200 on an existing commercial route is something that's rather hard to justify, especially when a number of smaller (and usually more luxurious) bizjets (G550, GV, BG6000, DF7X, G500, etc.) can also make the NRT-JFK trip nonstop for a fraction of the carbon footprint. I'm sure Tanaka felt it was showing class to charter a wide-bodied jet to fly his ass (and not much else) to Yankee Stadium but IMO he showed anything but class...

I hope Ma-kun didn't forget to list his ego when asked by U.S. Customs if he had anything to declare...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@kaimycahl - I haven't seen, read, or heard ANYONE say he would go undefeated in MLB ! Where did that barb come from ? Perhaps envy ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kuribune

@kaimycahl - I haven't seen, read, or heard ANYONE say he would go undefeated in MLB ! Where did that barb come from ? Perhaps envy ?

Because I don;t think he would be undefeated. What envy? We are not baseball players. He did not get as much as Dodgers pitcher. Dodgers, Angels, A, SFG, DB, Rangers and majority of teams were not interested to offer anything. Just desperate Yankees offerred. Now, Yankees has to fill 3rd baseman, Envy to stay in cold cold snowy NY?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Strangerland: But criticizing the guy for spending the money he has rightfully earned? That's just jealousy. Hate the game, not the player.

Hide Suzuki: There are always losers who talk crap about you if you are famous. Ignore jealousy losers and treat your fans with respect. is it that hard to understand ?

What in the world are you two talking about? Jealousy? Jealousy has nothing to do with it. The idiocy of Tanaka's actions are 1) what USNinJapan2 mentioned about the environmental issues, and 2) that this is an act of pure, unearned arrogance. He may be a big star in Japan, but that doesn't mean anything in the MLB. Go win a few games before you start parading yourself around like some kind of bigshot. Right now he has zero wins and zero strikeouts as far as the Yankees are concerned. Flying into NYC on a plane like this makes me think of a 20 year old driving 200 km/h down the street at 2am in a really loud car that his parents bought him. Stop showing off like a needy little child and go earn your salary. If he has even 75% of the success in the MLB that he did in NPB, then he can charter as many flights as he wants.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

the environmental issues

There are thousands of planes in the sky every day. One plane one time is going to make such an insignificant difference as to be almost zero. If he was doing this regularly it would be one thing. But a one-off shot? It's nothing.

this is an act of pure, unearned arrogance. He may be a big star in Japan, but that doesn't mean anything in the MLB. Go win a few games before you start parading yourself around like some kind of bigshot.

Why? If he has the money, and it's the way he want to spend his money, then that's his right. Then you go on to say it would be alright if he was a big shot, but since he's not, it's not alright which while destroying your first point about environmentalism, also says you are pretty arrogant for thinking you know how someone should spend their own money better than they do. It's his money to do with however he wants.

Stop showing off like a needy little child and go earn your salary.

If he paid for the flight, then he's already earned the salary.

Jealousy plain and simple.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There is an article on JT Crime board. A 38-year-old Japanese passenger aboard an All Nippon Airways flight from Narita to New York’s Kennedy airport on Monday went beserk, causing the Boeing 777 aircraft to make an unscheduled stop at Anchorage.

At least Tanaka came without inconvenient stopping in cold Anchorage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So he spends 20M yen to fly but drives to Narita?! Surely he'd be able to afford the helicopter from Tokyo to Narita no?!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

jojo: Why helicopter? Did he drive or used a chauffuer? Limo is more comfortable. Are you sure he drove?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites