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Culture Clash: Red Sox vs. Matsuzaka

I did not jump on the Daisuke Matsuzaka bandwagon…

I like Daisuke. I even like his name. I think he’s having a hard time settling here and that if/when he does settle, he can/will do well.

However, I never understood (I get the rules and technicalities) why the Sox or any team would shell out 51-million US dollars (6-billion Yen) just to TALK to a player unless he was a religious icon like Jesus…or a powerful wizard like Dumbledore in Harry Potter. That’s like what, 100K per word! In my mind, you’d have to be able to catch a popup in your mouth to get that kind of attention, but what do I know!

Why do MLB teams look to other countries for players, while little leagues in the U.S. are struggling for money? (Kudos to the Dominican Republic for its high-quality players…and, er…energy drinks!)

When you compare today to the era of the Negro Leagues, the state of baseball among black youth in America is so deplorable it’s practically dead! I’d like to see a modern day version of the “Negro League” as a farm system to develop black players.

I’m not saying that teams are wrong to go outside looking for players. Go get them wherever you can or want to: The Middle East, the North Pole or Zimbabwe!

What I’m saying is: I think MLB is neglecting to invest enough in Little Leagues. (Though teams will come up with figures to show they are!) Then a team like the Red Sox spends 100 million (including a 2-million-dollar signing bonus) to acquire a Matsuzaka and to my mind, doesn’t get the necessary returns.

The week of July 30, the normally unflappable Red Sox manager Terry Francona appeared a little testy with Matsuzaka. The Japanese pitcher has not been delivering, after overworking his shoulder in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, March 5-23. (Matsuzaka bagged the MVP, and led Team Japan to its second (2006) gold medal)

The frustrated Red Sox put Matsuzaka on a 60-Day Disabled List. He’s not eligible to pitch again until today, August 18. An equally frustrated Matsuzaka bitched about his training to a Japanese reporter: “If I’m forced to continue to train in this environment, I may no longer be able to pitch like I did in Japan.”

Matsuzaka apparently blames his pitching shortfalls on the Sox training program. He wants the club to account for the needs of Japanese pitchers, who use a practice called: nagekomi, or marathon throwing sessions.

Matsuzaka believes that such between-starts work increases arm strength and helps his pitches. Sox, on the other hand, don’t care for marathon throwing sessions and choose to emphasize more weights in their shoulder and training programs.

The Japanese apparently believe that people of different ethnic, racial, and/or national origin have physiological traits that require distinct training programs. So when he follows the same routines as his American-born teammates, doesn’t get the same results.

If the Sox didn’t know that, just what exactly did they talk about during that 50-million-dollar conversation back in Japan?

And how on earth do I understand – for free?

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1 Comment»

  Baseballbriefs.com wrote @

Baseballbriefs.com tracking back Culture Clash: Red Sox vs. Matsuzaka…

Baseballbriefs.com tracking back Culture Clash: Red Sox vs. Matsuzaka…


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