Several veteran gaijin warn Horner that such xenophobic fears have a way of manifesting themselves on the field. As the season progresses, the Red Devil will have to keep cool. "They'll start walking him all the time," Bass told ST correspondent Robert Whiting. "If he's patient and lets them, he'll be fine. But you get tired of waiting. That's when you have problems."
When Bass pulled to within one home run of Oh's single-season mark in '85, he was walked eight times without seeing a strike in his final two games—which happened to come against Oh's own Giants. It is said that Giants management had threatened to fine its pitchers $1,000 for every strike they threw Bass. "Just wait until the pitchers and umpires start in on Horner," says Cromartie. "It's the nature of the game when gaijin are involved. It's just a matter of time before some conflict erupts."
But the enthusiasm over Horner's tear served as a reminder of how time can resolve conflicts, too. GIs returning from World War II told of Japanese soldiers who tried to insult them by saying: "To hell with Babe Ruth." After one giddy week, die-hard followers of the Yakult Swallows can only say, "Thank heaven for Bob Horner."