This reaction is not to get down in the weeds of his word choice too much, but there was still surely a less brash way in which Masahiro Tanaka could have fielded this question.
Tanaka has dazzled through four starts, emerging as an ace for the New York Yankees. He has gone 3-0 with a 2.15 ERA and 35 strikeouts. That sparked a question about whether or not the 24-0 record he posted last year in Japan might ever be possible in the Major Leagues.
Rather than dodge the question with a “one start at a time” type answer, Tanaka said he won’t call it impossible. Quotes from ESPN.com (and through a translator):
Honestly, it’s hard to say. But the percentage I would say is not zero percent. I say this because I go on the mound to try to beat the other team every single time. … So I don’t want to look at it as something that’s impossible to do…
…If there’s a possibility, I want to go towards that. … Every time I take the mound, I try to win. So that’s what I’m trying to do. And I fully understand how difficult of a task (24-0) would be.”
For how poorly Tanaka could have come off here, whether through a translator or not, he simply comes off as a guy who is confident in his game. If his early performances are any indication, Tanaka could be dominant enough to be a 24-0-level pitcher, such that it is. But he ultimately might be subject to the injustice that is the win-loss statistic, especially with a (really) shaky infield behind him.
But hey, at least Tanaka has the swagger to match the larger than life presence of the Yankees, right?