安倍首相に配慮?式前に長嶋氏に「打つのはご遠慮を」と言っていた!本質を見失った始球式

5月5日、長嶋茂雄氏(77)と松井秀喜氏(38)の国民栄誉賞表彰式が東京ドームで行なわれた。巨人対広島のプレイボール直前には、投手・松井氏、打者・長嶋氏、捕手・原辰徳監督、球審・安倍晋三首相という夢の始球式も実現。松井氏の投げた内角高めのボールを、長嶋氏が強振した。


試合後の会見では、氏は「気持ちが高ぶりましてね、さあ打とうと、いうつもりだったんですが、たまたまボールが、顔のあたりに来たもんで、打てないなと」と振り返りながら、「久しぶりにスイングをして、やっぱりあのときはうれしかったですね」とも。「いい球だったら、打っていたと思います」と松井の"暴投"(?)をほのめかしながら、笑いを誘った。
04年3月に脳梗塞で倒れて以来、長嶋氏は懸命のリハビリを続けてきた。今年3月に放送されたBSフジ『長嶋茂雄がここにいる』で公開した姿は、リハビリというよりも筋力トレーニングと言えるほどハードなものだった。

それは、「もう一度、元気な姿をファンの前に見せたい」という一心からだった。始球式での強振は、長嶋氏の9年間の想いが詰まっていたのだ。

だが、驚くことに、「球審の安倍首相にファウルチップが当たっては大変」と考えた関係者は、長嶋氏に「打つのはご遠慮を」と告げていたという。

これほど本質を見失った忠告があるだろうか。たしかに始球式は投手の投げたボールを打者が空振りするのが慣例になっている。しかし、そのような決まりごとを次から次へと破っていったからこそ、ファンは長嶋氏の一挙手一投足に酔いしれ、「何が起こるかわからない」と期待したのだ。

それが、「球審の安倍首相にファウルチップが当たっては大変」という理由で、「打つのはご遠慮を」とは何事だろうか。

それならば、安倍首相が防具をつければいいだけの話だし、ファールが当たるのを避けたいのなら、そもそも球審を務める必要がない。きっと安倍首相も打って欲しかったに違いないし、周りの変な気遣いはいらないのだ。

素晴らしい国民栄誉賞表彰式・始球式だっただけに、なんとも残念な話だ。そして、政治家になんと言われようと、この日のために素振りを重ね、始球式直前もベンチ裏で振り続けた長嶋茂雄の空振りは、なによりも美しかった。
(シエ藤)

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