Monday, February 19, 2007

Which Media?

Hello Matsuzaka True-Believers. It seems that Spring Training has begun in earnest and the big boys are out to get ready for the long season ahead. I say big boys because we saw Curt Schilling show up in his full off-season glory, and many fans unfamiliar with Matsuzaka were surprised to see him sporting quite a nice spare tire as well. I can't speak to Schilling, as he generally pitches with a hefty front section, but Daisuke may have been enjoying LA more than he was working out. Nevertheless, I expect you'll see him ramp up his training and get into decent shape by Opening Day. His high school coach told an ESPN reporter that he was mainly concerned about Matsuzaka's conditioning going to the States because he can get lax if someone isn't on his case riding him to stay fit. Keep an eye on it.

This post is mainly about the media issue. It's interesting to me that people are still surprised at the amount of Japanese media that follow these players around. I thought this was common knowledge. A lot of major media outlets are reporting the media throng over and over as if it were an invasion of aliens. Yes, the Japanese media is serious. Yes, they are fanatics about their athletes on the international stage. The interesting irony of all this, to me, is the fact that Japan has no "All Sports" network that covers athletics 24 hours a day like ESPN, for example. Who is more ravenous? Take this screencap from, for example.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a CNNSI fan. I like many of their writers. Read the caption under Matsuzaka's picture. It says:

Every time Daisuke Matsuzaka so much as stretches at Red Sox spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., dozens of Japanese media will be there to capture the moment.

Japanese media will be there to capture the moment? That's an AP photo posted at! Not only that, but in addition to the photo and caption, Matsuzaka's name appears two more times in the main headline section. One of those lines says, "Matsuzaka arrives at Sox Camp" and has a video link!! I know the Japanese media is fun to play on. It's hilarious to see 50 Japanese men and women with cameras and mics huddled together in a wild pack chasing after an athlete, but let's keep some perspective. This is a lot of fun, isn't it. Wait until he pitches against Boston College and the Marlins...his first scheduled outings. He'll face BC for about 2 innings on March 2nd, the Marlins for a bit longer on the 6th (I believe), and it has been announced that he will debut in the regular season at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City against the Royals on April 5th.


At 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work. I've been following your blog since its inception. As a follower of both Japanese and American baseball, I think you've done a bang up job capturing all sides to the issue.

Yes, you're right. There's something to be said about American media commenting on foreign media! Still, I don't think there's any real harm done here.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

Thanks very much. I appreciate the kind words.

I don't think there's any harm in it at all actually. It's kind of amusing to me, looking at it from the outside. I always took it for granted that the other wealthy and industrialized nations of the world had some form of media like our own. While Japan's is enormous and aggressive, it's still nothing like the 24 hour news and sports outlets in the US. We are voracious.

When Koshien rolls around, Japanese media will approach the US fever for everything and all the time....

Thanks again.

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happened to Masa Hoshino? Seems like the Red Sox hired some Japanese Media person named Sachiyo to translate for Matsuzaka now.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Mike Edelman said...

Where did you hear the dates that Matsuzaka's scheduled to start?

Mike Edelman

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

Hey Mike.

I linked to the place where I heard it actually. It's a Kyodo News story. Kyodo is one of the major Japanese media outlets like AP or Reuters. It's located in Tokyo with the International News Division in Rockefeller Center, NYC.

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Wayne said...

I find it funny that the Boston media is still amazed by the Japanese media because all winter the Boston media was talking about the new contigent of Japanese media that would arrive at Fort Meyers and continue through the season. The Boston media knew what to expect and now they still act surprised.

Mike, have you ever seen Matsuzaka at the start of the pre-season in Japan? Did he have a little gut like he does now? I was a little surprised by it considering he has been training in California. Maybe that's his baseline though?

At 4:48 AM, Blogger Mike Edelman said...

"I think [Matsuzaka's] an ace in the making in that he's gonna be able to win some games when he's not locating his fastball very well or he doesn't have his curveball that night because he has such dominating off stuff, such offspeed stuff - he's like Pedro in a sense that he has multiple strikeout pitches."

-Curt Schilling

What do you think of that?

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Wayne said...

Mike E, Curt's comments make me salivate even more than I already was. I already had a new man crush this year before hearing Curt's assessment.

At 6:29 AM, Blogger Mike Edelman said...

I guess my "man-crush" this year would be Devern Hansack from which I expect great things this year. He has superb control (he's never had a BB/9 over 3.14 in the minors and walked only 1 in his first 10 major league innings) and an absolutely devastating slider. He can really keep the ball on the ground.

Last year though it was Papelbon. I loved what I saw in 2005 and even went as far as to make a Papelbon jersey out of old Garciaparra and Damon jersey numbers. He didn't disappoint at all. If my good feeling about Hansack works out half as well, he'd still make for a great reliever.

At 4:47 AM, Blogger Rob Gaudreau said...

Wait...there is Japanese media surrounding Matsuzaka? Man...I read the Globe online and CnnSI and haven't heard...what the heck! Shouldn't they inform us of this? :-) Sarcasm folks!


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