"It'll be a great experience going over there," right-hander Joe Blanton said. "I like eating sushi. It'll be nice getting to see what they bring as far as that goes. It will just be a cool experience. Something new is always good."
Five years ago, the A's were all packed and ready to go to Tokyo. Equipment manager Steve Vucinich was preparing to ship 14,000 pounds of gear and baggage with the team, and director of travel Mickey Morabito had passports and visas at the ready.
The onset of the war in Iraq canceled that trip one day before Oakland and the Seattle Mariners were scheduled to leave, disappointing many of the players and support staff. So the A's requested to be considered for future international travel, and here they are again, packing up after Wednesday's split-squad games in Phoenix and Mesa and taking off for Tokyo.