My dear friend Mimi, who is Japanese-American, came to visit from New York this weekend, and we had the pleasure of taking in Game 1 of the ALCS together, when the Red Sox spanked the Indians, 10-3. The subject of Daisuke “Sir Dice-A-Lot” Matsuzaka came up, and Mimi told me that her mother, a delightful woman but a Hardass Asian Parent nevertheless–who was disappointed when Mimi didn’t get into Harvard years ago and had to settle for…gasp!…Yale–was “ashamed” of Dice-K and his lackluster season.
ME: Does your mom know Dice-K?
ME: Does your mom even watch baseball?
MIMI: (laughing) No!
I can only imagine how Mimi’s mother feels today, after Dice-K blew Game 3 last night, throwing only 4 2/3 innings and giving up 4 runs. The final score was 4-2, Indians. All of Japan, in fact, is probably feeling the shame of Dice-K’s failure, as evidenced by this AFP story, “Boston’s Matsuzaka disappoints fans in Japan”:
“Matsuzaka retreated to the bench like a boxer who was battered and had to throw in the towel,” the [Mainichi Shimbun] said.
“He threw a total of 101 pitches. Only three Indian batters attempted to hit his first pitch. They waited patiently for Matsuzaka to implode,” the Asahi Shimbun said.
Jeez. It’s like having a whole country of Hardass Asian Parents watching and, more importantly, disapproving of your every move. Who wouldn’t cave under this kind of pressure?
And it’s probably safe to say that there’s no one who feels more ashamed of Dice-K right now than Dice-K. Sure, the Sox paid $103 mil to get him over here, and finishing the regular season 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA is nothing to write home about. But he’s in a totally different league this year (li-trally and metaphorically), he’s pitched more games than he did with the Seibu Lions, and his arm is just plain worn out. Plus he plays in Boston, which has its own Shame Microscope, reserved especially for Red Sox players who underperform (J.D. Drew, anyone?) to go under.
Dice-K’s finished for the season. I suspect that he will return next year with his full arsenal of pitches (rumors are that he is capable of 8 or 9 different ones) and rock people’s shit. For now, Japan and Boston…take a fucking chill pill. And the Red Sox organization? My armchair managerial advice is to keep any and all sharp objects away from the kid.
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