Don Wakamatsu and Ed Wang, two notable Asian Americans in the pro sports world, recently received some bad news.
Wakamatsu, the first Asian American manager in Major League Baseball history, was fired on Monday by the Seattle Mariners following a season that has fallen below expectations.
Despite signing some key players during the offseason, the Mariners posted a 42-70 record entering Tuesday and have fallen to last place in their division.
Wakamatsu finished his first season with the Mariners last year with a 85-77 record and hoped to lead the club to their first playoff appearance in nine years. Instead, they’ve posted the second worst record in the American League.
The Mariners signed several big name players last Winter by adding ace pitcher Cliff Lee (who was recently traded to Texas) and Chone Figgins to complement leadoff hitter Ichiro Suzuki in the top of the batting order. Still, their offense has struggled and the team has scored the fewest runs, homeruns and holds the lowest batting average in the entire league.
The fourth generation Japanese American joined the Mariners in November 2008. The Bay Area native is the fifth manager to be fired this season.
The baseball news comes a week after some unfortunate setbacks in the football world. Just months after Buffalo Bills rookie Ed Wang became the first Chinese American selected in the National Football League’s draft, his professional debut will have to be put on hold.
Last week, the left tackle underwent surgery on his hand after suffering an injury during training camp and is said to be “out indefinitely,” according to reports.
In April, the Bills selected Wang in the fifth round out of Virginia Tech. Wang, who also suffered a left leg injury in June, was competing for a backup spot on the team.
Now that Wakamatsu and Wang are of out of the sports spotlight, will Asian Americans focus their attention that much more on the recently signed basketball phenom Jeremy Lin?
Let’s not jinx anything and hope that his practices with the Golden State Warriors run smoothly.