But the Phillies' slumping outfielder remains determined to find it.
In 2006 he smacked a pinch-hit home run during game three of the division series against the San Diego Padres. During game two of the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets that same year, he belted a tie-breaking pinch hit solo home run off Billy Wagner in the top of the ninth. He hit a two-run pinch-hit double off Wagner in the top of the ninth during game six of the same series.
Taguchi batted .400 during the Cardinals' 2006 championship run, collecting six hits in 15 at-bats. He started three of the five World Series games against Detroit.
In 2007 he had 13 pinch hits in 32 at-bats for the Cards, the best average in the National League.
"It was a long standing O," says Phillies centerfielder Shane Victorino, who's one-quarter Japanese. "That was really an honor."
In Taguchi's second at-bat against his former team, he singles up the middle. The crowd again jumps to its feet.
"It was an awesome night," says Taguchi, who's the only Japanese player in the major leagues who doesn't employ a translator.
"I couldn't hold my tears," says Taguchi's wife Emiko.
The hordes of Japanese media who document the every move of ballplayers like Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka generally snub Taguchi.
He's not an everyday player and he's not flamboyant. The only time they cover him is when he's playing against a team with a Japanese superstar. It's called tsuide--taking advantage of an opportunity. It's a word with negative connotations.
When the Boston Red Sox arrive at Citizens Bank Park in mid-June, tsuide is on Taguchi's mind.
Still, he follows his rigorous pregame ritual, ignoring the handful of Japanese cameramen and reporters who follow the Bosox. Most of the Japanese media have gone to Allentown to watch Matsuzaka make a rehab start against the Iron Pigs.
It's only when Taguchi greets the Red Sox's relief pitcher Hideki Okajima near the batting cage that the cameras come to life.
"I say to Okajima, 'Let me hit!'" Taguchi later jokes.
But as usual Taguchi experiences the playofflike atmosphere only from the bench for most of the game. He enters as a pinch runner for Burrell in the bottom of the sixth but doesn't get to bat. The Phillies win 8-2. The closest Taguchi gets to home plate is the on-deck circle with Okajima on the mound in the bottom of the eighth.
"I don't get a lot of at-bats," Taguchi says. "I have to keep my feelings fresh. Everyday players have to adjust from at-bat to at-bat. I have to adjust during each at-bat, from pitch to pitch. It's a new challenge."
In Japan Taguchi started nearly every game, batting second behind Suzuki for the Orix BlueWave, Taguchi's hometown team. Both players were drafted in 1992: Taguchi as the team's No. 1 one pick and Suzuki at No. 4.
"They made one of the best outfields in Japanese baseball history," says Nagao.
Taguchi and Suzuki covered massive territory--and had fun doing so.
Geek Invasion 2013