Sunday, November 12, 2006
Japanese Ace Matsuzaka Familiar to US Audiences
Yes, Americans loved Daisuke Matsuzaka when as a child actor he played "Short Round," Indiana Jones' loveable little sidekick in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." But wait. There's been some changes since Matsuzaka developed into a star Japanese pitcher. No, no longer does Matsuzaka need to strap six-inch blocks to the bottoms of his shoes to reach the pedals of Indy's 1937 Cord Phaeton. He needs only three-inch blocks now. And yes, Matsuzaka can almost see over the top of the steering wheel without having to sit on a copy of the Tokyo Yellow Pages. But he's still small for a major league pitcher. Is he really worth the anticipated $40 million the Red Sox would fork over just for the rights to negotiate with him? After all, even at the tender age of 26, Matsuzaka has already had two seasons of dubious health, and may be on a collision course such as that of ex-BoSox ace Pedro Martinez, another slightly built hurler who now may have reached a premature end to his career with the Mets. Can it be that the Red Sox sought the winning bid just to block the Evil Empire's Yankees from signing him, and have no intention of closing a deal? If Matsuzaka and the Red Sox fail to reach an accord, the team's money is fully refunded and the Yankees will have to wait at least another year to get him.