Wedge said baseball had stepped to the plate after his team’s 3-1 extra innings victory over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday in the first of two MLB season-opening games in Tokyo.
“There are a lot of people who need help,” he told reporters at Tokyo Dome. “I want to make sure that everybody really tries to respond and help these people out.”
Players and officials from both teams visited the stricken northeast of Japan earlier this week and ‘Ichiro-Mania’ was put on hold before Wednesday’s game.
Video tributes were played on the giant stadium screen from baseball luminaries Bobby Valentine, Derek Jeter and Cal Ripkin, who each told a story of victims of the disaster last March.
“From a financial standpoint, to get everybody back on track (in re-igniting awareness) this is a great venue to do that,” said Wedge.
“I think Major League Baseball really stepped up with this.
“I feel like we are here for much more than just baseball,” he added after Ichiro, as if scripted on his homecoming, sparked Seattle’s win with four hits in front of 44,000 adoring fans.
Wedge was clearly moved by the devastation he witnessed in northeast Japan, which was flattened by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and the massive tsunami wave it triggered.
“We went to Sendai and saw everything,” he said, referring to the baseball clinic held for children living in the disaster-hit region.
“We are here to play a couple of big league games but the overriding factor for everything is to raise the level of awareness internationally for what’s happened here.”
MLB donated $500,000 to help reconstruct the city of Ichinomaki, where more than 19,000 were killed in the tsunami on March 11, 2011.
Seattle meet Oakland in the second of their two game series on Thursday.