MLB pitcher apologizes for posting video of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park along with image of bomb

It was learned on November 13 that Hector Velazquez, 29, a Boston Red Sox pitcher who was visiting Hiroshima to play a game in the all-star series between Major League baseball players in the United States and players from Japanese teams, had posted a video of the Peace Memorial Park accompanied by an image of a bomb on his Instagram account. At a hastily-held press conference before the game at Mazda Stadium on the same day, Mr. Velazquez apologized for his actions, calling them inappropriate.

The image of the bomb that was posted along with the video of the Peace Memorial Park also included the words “Atomic Bomb!” in the sky near the A-bomb Dome. The Mexican-born pitcher explained that he had wanted to tell family members and friends about what had happened in Hiroshima through his online post. He then apologized to the people of Japan and everyone involved, saying that he had taken the wrong approach to his aim of telling others about what was truly a sad and tragic event.

On November 12, four members of the MLB All-Star team visited the Peace Memorial Park and laid a wreath of flowers at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims. Among them were Kenta Maeda, a pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Jim Small, the vice president of MLB for the Asia-Pacific region. On behalf of the organizers, Mr. Small apologized for the major leaguer’s inappropriate behavior, saying that his actions were very different from the condolences that had been expressed the day before for those who were killed by the atomic bomb.

Toshiyuki Mimaki, 76, the vice chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hiroshima Hidankyo, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi) said with frustration, “It is disappointing to see one of the Major League baseball players, who I thought had understood the sentiments of the A-bomb survivors when I saw them offering flowers, do such a thing. How much more do we have to do before people understand the tragedy that happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?”

(Originally published on November 14, 2018)