When athletes sign endorsement deals with companies, they get lots of perks. Primarily among those perks are free swag. But Mizuno is giving Matt Cain something that goes way beyond simply "free gear" -- the Giants pitcher is getting a samurai sword.
The Japanese sporting goods manufacturer is giving Cain the sword in honor of his perfect game last week and will present Cain with "the traditional Japanese honor of an authentic samurai sword" prior to his next start, which occurs Monday against the Angels.
"Mizuno bestows the samurai sword honor to recognize the most-significant athletic achievements of its Mizuno ambassadors, such as Cain’s historic perfect game against the Houston Astros in his previous start last Wednesday at [AT&T] Park in San Francisco," the company announced in a press release.
Cain is the fifth such "Mizuno MLB ambassador" to receive an authentic samurai sword from the Japanese sports manufactor.
Zach Greinke notably received one after winning the 2009 Cy Young for the Royals, calling it "the coolest thing ever." (He gave his parents his Cy trophy and kept the sword.)
Braves manager Bobby Cox picked one up when he retired in 2010, Braves third baseman Chipper Jones received a sword when he won the batting title in 2008 (will he get a second one after this season???) and Dallas Braden was given the honor after his perfect game in 2010.
Stay tuned and we'll have some photos and video from the ceremony later.