According to the New York Post, Tanaka rented an entire Boeing 787 for his trip aboard Japanese Airlines from Toyko to New York. Aboard the plane with Tanaka, which fits 186 passengers, was his wife, a puppy, and three other “associates.”
On Sunday, the aircraft carried just Tanaka, his wife, Mai Satoda, a Japanese baseball official, two other pals and the pitcher’s brown toy poodle, Haru.
“It’s a [chartered] private jet. It’s not something the Yankees have prepared,” Tanaka told reporters at Tokyo’s Narita Airport before takeoff.
Meanwhile, Tanka’s lavish purchase apparently had a few Yankees officials concerned that they may have signed another Alex Rodriguez type spender to their roster.
Yankee insiders were worried the team may have another splashy spender like Alex Rodriguez on their hands.
“The last thing we need is a T-Rod,” one official said.
Their concerns could be eased as some believe that Japan Airlines may have footed the bill for publicity.
“We suspect that JAL paid Tanaka to fly him over,” the source said. “There would have been considerable national pride to have him come to America on a Japan Airlines flight.”
This is a much better story if Tanaka actually paid for this flight, so we’ll go with that until we hear otherwise.