TOKYO -- Brendan Ryan has been known as an engaging sort since joining the Mariners a year ago in a trade from the Cardinals, but the fun-loving shortstop took that to a new level this week.
Ryan, 30, proposed to his long-time girlfriend on Tuesday on the Sky Deck on the 54th floor of Mori Tower, one of Tokyo's tallest buildings, surprising her with a ring he'd brought from the United States as part of a master plan he managed to keep secret for months.
"I had this planned for quite a while," said Ryan. "Once I heard we were going to Japan, I figured it was a pretty cool opportunity. Then MLB heard about it and stepped in and rolled out the red carpet for us and it was just awesome."
Ryan told his girlfriend, Sharyn, that they were going on a tour and needed to get dressed up. MLB provided a fake "tour guide" who took the couple to the tower, where Ryan waited for the perfect moment.
"We got up there at sunset so it was starting to get dark and you could see the lights of the city and the Tokyo Tower was lit up," he said. "It was perfect."
Ryan had asked Ichiro's interpreter, Antony Suzuki, how to say "Will you marry me?" in Japanese.
"So I dropped that on her," Ryan said. "When she asked me what that meant I got down on a knee. It was kind of cool."
Even better was when the shocked Sharyn said yes.
"She didn't answer at first," he said. "I'd instilled in her that we'd be close to 40 when that would happen, so she was pretty shocked. But after 5-10 seconds, she finally gave me an answer, which of course was yes.
"I said, 'Are you going to put this thing on or what?' She took the box and just held on to it and grabbed me. I said, 'I think you're supposed to put this thing on.' I was afraid it wouldn't fit, but it did."
The hyperactive Ryan thought of everything on this one, even realizing he shouldn't trust himself to bring the engagement ring with him to Japan.
"One of the smartest things I ever did was give that thing to Felix [Hernandez]," Ryan said, "because I figured if anybody was going to lose it, he could afford it."