Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Struggles

I am promoting this comment (from Kyoto, a regular visitor around these parts) regarding Daisuke Matsuzaka’s recent difficulties.

Didn’t have a chance to see the game, had to work, but from the comments Daisuke’s outing seems absolutely brutal. The top three places I’d begin looking for an answer:

1) No change-up. Daisuke was never a power-pitcher. He was a junk-baller with power. The last few outings in particular all fastball (of several varieties) and slider. Is it that he can’t get his other pitches over, or that Varitek isn’t calling them. Or some combination of the two. Without his other pitches working his "power" stuff is very hittable. With them, he’s (historically) very tough. Possible solution for this category of problems: get his old manager and former pitcher over here, Mr. Higashio. Last time 大輔さん was really struggling Higashio happened to find himself in town and watched a few bullpen sesssions, had a few dinners with the young man and things improved. Plus, Higashio’s daughter is hot and a pro-golfer over in America who speaks perfect English, so he probably needs the airline tickets anyway.

2) This could be related a bit to the above. Communication and the entourage. I have some experience dealing with multi-lingual situations. Translating is a tough business and while doing the work there is little time for reflection. I noticed an article in MLB patting all the clubs on their collective backs for the wonderful jobs they are doing for their Japanese players. Ichiro’s translator got special attention, though he is probably one of the worst translators I have ever heard. Thus Ichiro’s reputation for flaky quotes, when in fact he is a fairly cerebral and definitely not wacky guy. The Red Sox did a good job of taking the problem seriously after the debacle of Daisuke’s first appearance before the press. But the Harvard guy and the gal who worked with Mrs. D may be causing problems and missing things they can’t even fathom. I often come across situations where the translators have the skills and the intelligence, but lack important kinds of insight, perspective, experience, and street smarts to get the job done correctly. Wild speculation hat off. Solution: fly me to Boston and let me observe all interactions between Daisuke and his translators. I won’t say a thing. But I guarantee I’ll pick up twenty or thirty things problems that need to be handled. (p.s. business class, thanks. And the wife wants tickets.)

3) Tired. Physically, mentally. This too could also be related to the two points above. Hard to tell. But in this vein of thought he needs more mental toughness: especially when he thinks he’s getting squeezed by the umps (taking it personally instead of understanding MLB umps, many of them, suck). Especially when he wants to throw a different pitch than Varitek is giving him. His whole demeanor on the field, from the get-go of the season, has seemed to me a bit off. No rhythm. Languishing between pitches. Pulling at his belt, adjusting his hat. Just not strong. Not Daisuke. I thought it would get better but it seems to be getting worse. A hesistant, sulking, less than confident player is blood in the water. You can smell it. Anyway who has played sports at a high level understands the feeling one gets when sensing the opposition (a player or the whole team) is scared, doubting. I wouldn’t be surprised if when I get a chance to see that inning, the Baltimore players have that old familar twinkle in the eye. Solution: shut it down for a start, and maybe he needs a tattoo. A good bench clearing brawl. In the first inning needs to urinate on the mound to claim it Daisuke’s territory. Something.

Wake up your Alpha male Daisuke!

36 comments… add one
  • Earlier this week there was a discussion about if Roger Clemens was a disappointment for the yanks this year. Many (not all) SF’s said that since clemens was a .500 pitcher with an ERA almost a half run of over 4, there is no way he could be considered anything but a disappointment.
    So now I turn the tables. How can DiceK, the $100 mil. man be considered not a disappointment when the same standard is applied? His record is slightly better than .500 and his ERA is essentially the same as Rogers. Say what you will but this is not the pitcher the Sox thought they were paying for over the off-season. Also, the point of my post is not to talk about what he will do in the future, etc. but how his first year performance is being evaluated.

    Sam-YF September 9, 2007, 9:58 am
  • i disagree sam. a mid 4 era isn’t anything to sneeze at, and it’s been a lot lower than that most of the year. he’s really been a victim of some bad luck–i believe he’s not gotten a win in something like 8 of his quality starts. toss him a couple of those, and his season all of a sudden looks a lot better. look at his performance at yankee stadium. he lost, but it was a solid effort.
    the sox are 5.5 up in the division with a couple of weeks to play. they’re in that position because of their pitching. beckett and dice have been their rotational rocks. they’ve gone out and thrown consistent quality innings all season, nevermind the few hiccups. that’s good on its own merits, but their achievement has a domino effect on the entire staff: they save the pen, and minimize reliance on back-end fill ins. similarly, clemens contribution to the yankees has been far more valuable than his own stats. until his latest problem. he had locked down a slot in the rotation.
    given where they are, and knowing that this was mats’s first year and that he’s been a bit burned by run support, i suspect the sox are thrilled, even if they’re a bit concerned that he might be tiring now. i’m also guessing they’re excited about the future.

    YF September 9, 2007, 10:13 am
  • YF. Im not actually try to say that I personally believe that Dice-K has been a disappointment. At the same time I dont believe that Clemens has been either. The stats I used were the similar to those to discredit Clemens’ season and I found that interesting but I dont think this thread to talk into a discussion about Roger again. I will say this as a YF Im happy to see Dice and Okajima struggle down the stretch. For the record, I still wish it was our team he was struggling on right now as we may be sitting in first if he were.

    Sam-YF September 9, 2007, 10:23 am
  • very diplomatic yf, but the truth is that we’re hearing no more discussion about dk for either the cy young or roy…the “hiccups”, if frequent, are exactly what kills a pitcher’s value…

    dc September 9, 2007, 10:25 am
  • Interesting analysis, Kyoto. But could you expand a bit on the part about Higashio’s hot daughter? ;^)

    Hudson September 9, 2007, 10:31 am
  • On a more serious note, it is entirely possible that DiceK recovers, and finishes the season with as many as 16 wins — which is about what many predicted. The 12 losses is not good, but as others have noted, he deserved a W in many of those; and the high number of decisions is also to his credit, and has been a big help to the team that he’s been able to go deep in so many games.
    (I haven’t gone over all the stats, but I think last night was his shortest outing of the season by far.)
    As horrible as last night was — it really couldn’t have been worse — all pitchers have bad patches, and I have high hopes that he will recover for the playoffs, and like Beckett will really come in his second year of pitching in Fenway.

    Hudson September 9, 2007, 10:40 am
  • Thanks SF. If I’d had known I wouldn’t have been drinkin’ and writin’ at the same time. Might’ve proof’d it too. “Anyone” for “anyway”, etc… Looking back over what I wrote, a bit more sober, comfort and confidence are the two words that come to mind when watching Daisuke lately. His not having either. Continuing on the “C” theme, and a change-up.
    Hudson as usual seperates the wheat from the chaff: http://www.riko-higashio.com/ . Hot might be going too far. But she is very appealing. Great personality too. Her father was an excellent manager and player. Presently retired.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 10:43 am
  • Wins and losses, as we all know, aren’t a great indicator of a pitcher’s quality. Certainly they aren’t a useless statistic, but fleshing out a hurler takes far more than just looking at the wins and losses. Dice-K has, for the most part, been a huge asset to this year’s Sox team. His recent outings are worrisome, not because it portends a mediocre career but because it foreshadows a possible problem for the duration of play this year. Like with Beckett last year, Matsuzaka seems to have trouble all at once – either he’s really good or, more rarely, he bombs out entirely. Much like Josh last year. And we know how Beckett has learned from that experience; I imagine Matsuzaka is also being educated.
    So I am more worried about Dice-K’s current travails and what it means for the next month or so. I am not worried about whether, if healthy, he will be a huge asset for the Sox for the duration of his contract. He can only get better, and what he has shown this year, less a handful of truly terrible outings, is better than most pitchers around the league.
    As for one of Kyoto’s points, my father commented to me during the game last night that he wondered where the heck Matsuzaka’s change-up had gone. He was throwing fastballs and sliders, and that was it. Where was this five to seven-pitch pitcher who mixes it up without peer? Any major leaguer who relies on two pitches and doesn’t spot them perfectly is in deep sh*t, and we saw that last night. It’s a noticeable change from earlier in the season.

    SF September 9, 2007, 12:33 pm
  • “As for one of Kyoto’s points, my father commented to me during the game last night that he wondered where the heck Matsuzaka’s change-up had gone. He was throwing fastballs and sliders, and that was it. Where was this five to seven-pitch pitcher who mixes it up without peer? ” It’s a mystery. All the other stuff could be background noise, fluff. This to me, like your father, is the crucial point. Some people over here are saying the ball is part of the problem. Small hand and slippery ball the worst combination, whereas in Japan, the sticky ball and a small hand, is the best combination. But he was throwing a fuller repertoire earlier this year. What happened? Why not now? In Japan a lot of pitchers throw junk for first and second strikes. Hard stuff to end it. The polar opposite of much MLB pitching. Earlier in the year Varitek was doing this with Daisuke more, not so much now. Which brings us around to the issue of a failure to communicate.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • YF said: ”i disagree sam. a mid 4 era isn’t anything to sneeze at, and it’s been a lot lower than that most of the year.”
    Dice K’s ERA has been hovering around 4.00 for of the year. You can look it up; he’s been above 4 for a little more than 3 months and below for a little less than 3 months.
    YF said: “he’s really been a victim of some bad luck–i believe he’s not gotten a win in something like 8 of his quality starts. toss him a couple of those, and his season all of a sudden looks a lot better.”
    He has 6 tough losses (losses during Quality starts) and 5 cheap wins (wins during non-QS); that’s parity and that’s what’s supposed to happen during the course of the season. DiceK hasn’t been victimized any more than any other pitcher in baseball.
    To give you some perspective, Andy Pettite has had worse (but still good) support. By comparison he has 4 Tough Losses and 2 Cheap wins, fewer wins and decisions than DiceK despite having more Innings Pitched, a better QS%, and fewer instances in which he’s given up 5 or more runs per game (standard in which you’ve allowed more runs than a MLB team scores on average). Again, his support hasn’t been bad but it seems worse to some Yankee fans because the New York offense is so potent.
    Good pitchers with bad run-support are found on teams like Oakland and San Diego. Boston is one of the better hitting teams in the Major Leagues. DiceK’s pitching woes have nothing to do with run support and MOST pitchers have it worse.

    Polaris September 9, 2007, 1:15 pm
  • YF said: “look at his performance at yankee stadium. he lost, but it was a solid effort.”
    I prefer to look at his season in totality rather than anecdotal evidence. AL teams overall have an annual average of less than 5 runs scored per game. Boston averages more than 5.5 runs of support for DiceK.

    Anonymous September 9, 2007, 1:18 pm
  • Bottom line, without cherry picking stats and focusing on the first half or back half of the season. Looking at his overall numbers through last night, DiceK is a $100 million league average pitcher. The American League version of the great free agent busto Barry Zito.
    His ERA+ is 102 compared to 98 for Zito (he is 2% better than league averag and Zito is 2% worse). And these data are park-adjusted and league adjusted. And the AL East alibi doesn’t fly, because as a member of the Bosox staff, the only great offense he faces in the division is the Yankees. The Os and Rays are average at best and the Blue Jays below average.
    If you don’t buy the Zito compae, then look up the data. Roughly the same innings, hits HRs given up and walks. DiceK has a decent edge in Ks, despite not facing pitchers. So that remains a reasonable cause for optimism.
    On the negative side is the precedent of Japanese imports pitching in the bigs. Despite Sox Fan’s wishful thinking that he will improve as he “Adjust” to the league, the opposite is what tends to happen. Look at the career of Nomo, his best comp. A power pitching righthander with a heavy workload and dominating numbers in Japan, coming to the US at the seasonal age of 26. Nomo’s ERA+ in his first year was 150, the best of his career. In his 2nd year it was 120. From then on, he only posted one year above 120, with most seasons right around average. And his career ERA+ was 98.

    MIchael T September 9, 2007, 1:32 pm
  • Regarding the contracts, since the “$100M” pitcher keeps getting applied to Dice-K:
    Someone like Zito may be immovable as a player because of his contract, should the Giants want to trade him in the near future (or, later should he deteriorate). The Sox, on the other hand, would have zero problem moving Matsuzaka right now or in the future, if continues to progress, stays the same, or even regresses, for good to decent return. This is an important distinction, and a reason that continuing to call Matsuzaka a $100M pitcher and using that as a basis for comparison is incorrect.

    SF September 9, 2007, 1:41 pm
  • YF said “the sox are 5.5 up in the division with a couple of weeks to play. they’re in that position because of their pitching. beckett and dice have been their rotational rocks. they’ve gone out and thrown consistent quality innings all season, nevermind the few hiccups. that’s good on its own merits, but their achievement has a domino effect on the entire staff: they save the pen, and minimize reliance on back-end fill ins.
    DiceK is over-hyped and over-priced as are most Japanese players. The former is meant to conceal the latter in hopes to divert attention away from the real reason the Bosox got DiceK: marketing. You can get better pitchers and/or comparable pitchers and better hitters with $130 million dollars, the low-ball figure if you include the normal cost of business in Japan [ie liaisons, greased palms, couriers, etc] and the overall marketing/production (I’ve been there and I’ve had co-workers who’ve lived there for years). From a purely business and investment perspective, it’s justifiable but either way, it’s a lot of money to sink just to cater to Japan’s hunger for racial competition.
    YF said: “similarly, clemens contribution to the yankees has been far more valuable than his own stats. until his latest problem. he had locked down a slot in the rotation. “
    If DiceK had an ERA of 3.00 to 3.50 with 20 wins he would’ve won the Cy Young no matter how much better people like Haren or Santanna were. We’re all fortunate that we don’t have to suffer a rigged Cy Young vote just to have a “first Japanese player to win” event. Bosox fans are fortunate too because it would have meant that the Japanes and their media allies would’ve done their best to beat down Becket, while elevating everything DiceK did. Exactly the same phenomenon happened in 2001 when the media went after Bret Boone because he was one of the 2 biggest obstacles to a “first Japanese player to win the MVP” (to note: they also ran roughshod over the soul of that team – Edgar Martinez). The event gave Seattle fame in Japan but ultimately destroyed the Mariners as a winning organization; after Boone, Edgar and Olerud were gone in 2004, a famous chapter among people who once looked at the Mariners as worthy rivals in the AL.
    In closing, just be glad that the Boston and Japanese media won’t have a chance to tear down or diminutize Becket ( a true Cy Young contender) and Varitek (who called BS on the “gyroball”) just to elevate DiceK.

    Polaris September 9, 2007, 1:42 pm
  • The event gave Seattle fame in Japan but ultimately destroyed the Mariners as a winning organization; after Boone, Edgar and Olerud were gone in 2004, a famous chapter among people who once looked at the Mariners as worthy rivals in the AL.
    This doesn’t pass muster. Boone was in his mid-30s and stopped playing well, his power went away as he aged (or other factors, nameless, took hold). Martinez was 41 years old and retired, Olerud left after 2003 and was in decline as a player, out of MLB within two seasons. This was a team aging (though this year they have certainly exceeded expectations and have been in/are still in the hunt), not a team broken up by a cultural wedge.

    SF September 9, 2007, 1:49 pm
  • SF: In regards to Zito, the biggest difference, by far, is that when he fails, nobody makes excuses for him; there is an army of journalists and fans who pile onto his shortcomings. By contrast, there is no end to the Dice-K apologists. He’s a good pitcher but not THAT good; a tentative #2 and a solid 3-4 in the rotation.
    This despite the fact that they’re statistics are VERY comparable and Zito is having a statistical blip (he pitched most of his career in the AL). DiceK is unproven so the amount of money doesn’t make sense unless you factor in the marketing ploy in Japan. The fact that DiceK fans try to deny this glaring point either by ommission, distraction, or ignorance is what galls me most.

    Polaris September 9, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • Who here is apologizing for Matsuzaka? Trying to understand why he has extremely good appearances followed by absolute catastrophes, understanding the difference between Japanese baseball and US baseball, trying to get a handle on his transition, the cultural differences, this is all in the interest of understanding Matsuzaka, not “apologizing” for his inconsistency or excusing his work to date.
    Clearly you are looking mostly at game logs for the basis of your analysis (if that – perhaps you are just looking at the bottom line), and haven’t watched Dice-K pitch very much.

    SF September 9, 2007, 1:59 pm
  • SF-
    Your logic makes no sense. The $50 million posting fee the Sox spent on DiceK is a sunk cost. If the Giants wanted to eat $50 million of Zito’s contract like the Sox already ate the DiceKposting fee, their annual salaries would be comparable for trade purposes. I’d still take DiceK over Zito all day long given this age and upside, fwiw. But from an economic standpoint, and except for the luxury tax the $100 million comparison is valid.

    Michael T September 9, 2007, 2:00 pm
  • YF said: “This was a team aging (though this year they have certainly exceeded expectations and have been in/are still in the hunt), not a team broken up by a cultural wedge.”
    Wrong. There’s a reason why teams such as Oakland and Kansas City are considered among the best teams to play for despite their small payrolls.
    Conversely, there’s a reason that San Francisco and Seattle have, if not bad working atmospheres, then difficult working cultures to prosper in.
    From marketing opportunities handed out by the organization (the equivalent of bonuses and allowances to base salaries) to public and private affairs in the clubhouse and team management.
    The Mariners, for some reason, made Suzuki their new leader after 2003, even though it was clear he had no acuity for leadership. The Mariners organization and the media became apathetic to players concerns; it wasn’t exactly a secret that the management coddled the Japanese players and set them up to reap huge rewards in public functionaries and dinner parties while the rest of the up-and-coming players got excortiated for even suggesting that there was – not just favoritism – but blatant racial favoritism.
    Lou Piniella, who saw that his authority was COMPLETELY eroded, also saw the train wreck that was coming and left the Mariners for good, and that pretty much spelled the end of the Mariners.
    Melvin tried his best to make the transition and he got completely overruled on how to handle the Japanese players and especially Suzuki. NOT the players in general. There were special rules and associations and considerations ONLY for Japanese players. It’s the kind of special treatment brought over from the NPB and, yes, every Major Leaguer knows what the Japanese League is all about and that reputation is now universally associated with Seattle’s ballclub among the player’s union.
    Mike Hargove is only the latest man who tried to change that clubhouse culture until the Mariners signed Ichiro and proved that they were less interested in a winning ballclub; they were more interested in a JAPANESE ballclub and put their money where there mouth was.
    I say again: up-and-coming or proven players (with 3-year backlogs) WILL NOT sign with Seattle so long as its culture reflects that of the Yomiuri Giants. Esprit de corps and player development will continue to suffer so long as a two-tiered system exists in that clunhouse…
    …and the single most important factor that brought that culture into the clubhouse was Suzuki and the 2001 MVP award (which everyone, including his teammates and Pinella knew he didn’t beat Boone on the merits, look up the numbers for yourself).
    I used to respect the Seattle Mariners until they trashed Boone, Edgar, Olerud and Lou.
    In 2003, the Mariners were a 90+ win ballclub even with the large drop-off in Suzuki’s production. Come 2004, Boone, Edgar and Olerud are all gone but Suzuki had the best season of his MLB career. No surprise at the result: the Mariners LOST 90+ games that season. They’ve never recovered since. And the reasons always go back to that culture: the reason no viable free-agent will sign with them, the reason no prospect will be held onto because there are better ballclubs who appreciate promise (even if they’re not Japanese), the reason why Suzuki could show up his MANAGER in PUBLIC for asking him to take pitches and sacrifice average for power to help the team (he wanted to swing at everything to break the hits record).

    Anonymous September 9, 2007, 2:42 pm
  • BTW, there’s a reason why Hideki Matsui’s transition into the Yankees has been the cleanest with minimal interruption to the club’s atmosphere. The organization isn’t going to get bullied by the Japanese League or the Media in general no matter how much they want to. The Yankees assimilated Matsui, not the other way around (because everyone knows the rot in the NPB and its host country in general).
    I say again, If you’re really a Bosox fan, you should be glad that DiceK hasn’t had a Suzuki effect [yet].

    Polaris September 9, 2007, 2:53 pm
  • Polaris,
    What crap. I’d be politer but your good points are ruined by much delusion. But I see you didn’t forget to turn over the obligatory “I’ve been there and have friends too who have been there” stone.
    As for the $130 million figure, do tell us all about the extra 30 million dollars of greased palms and liasions. And all the other nefarious economic activity that took place. Of the $100 million or so, half of which was negotiated by Boras who’s taking a nice cut, and the other half resulting from an agreement made by MLB and the Japanese league on the posting of players. Would it have been better economically if they had traded Bucholtz and three players to be named later and a draft choice to the Seibu Lions. Can’t do it. So it’s cash. But to continually harp on the posting fee and Daisuke=$100 million, er, sorry $130 million, rather than what he makes in yearly salary is a road that leads to fundamental errors in judgment. It is a tell-tale sign you have a point to make, a priori, and dang it is going to be made. I do believe the posting system needs to be reconsidered. But it is a difficult situation. Unlike say the Dominican Republic, Japanese players are participating in a very popular and profitable baseball league. Anyway, as for the “liasons, greased palms, couriers” bit, I guess the secrets out. If the Emperor doesn’t get five percent Daisuke couldn’t have left the country. I hear Theo impressed everyone with his chopstick wielding ability. And the upsetting, no that isn’t right, for I knew it was coming right after I read the “I’ve been there”–give me creds–crap, and idiocy I see a few miles down the road doesn’t upset me, but anyway the how so trite, your “from a purely business and investment perspective, it’s justifiable but either way, it’s a lot of money to sink just to cater to Japan’s hunger for racial competition” is a bit much. Your knowledge and experience of Japan is obviously built on pablum and platitudes. Ahh the xenophobic card. Played by those who are. I do agree with the competition part. But as for the racist part, lets just say I see you’ve put that shoe on all by yourself. Hope you left it untied. Still time to learn to take it off.
    Now on to the nefarious Japanese media beating down docile baseball loving Americans so Ichiro could get the MVP (and jeez he’s been just terrible ever since, hasn’t he. What a propaganda coup). On better thought no. As a Jewish guy, I’m used to this kind of crap. Your silliness about “Japan, Inc.” is of the same kind, but mild and relatively harmless. Bigger fish to catch.
    You had some good points too Polaris. And a few other delusions as well. Anyway. Cheers.
    p.s. basically the saddest part of your scribe is that you really don’t have any sense of what baseball (including MLB) means to millions and millions of Japanese. Too bad.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 2:54 pm
  • What you say about Ichiro could be said about dozens of other Diva All-Star Players. What you say about Seattle and the Nintendo owners could be said about a dozen other teams over the last decade. Management sometimes sucks. Sometimes stars are problems for other players, the clubhouse, managers. I purposefully don’t agree with all you say, particularly about Ichiro, but so what. And in fact, I think you have some good points about Seattle, but why cast it in such racist, nefarious, conspiratoriial tones?
    If Seattle hadn’t lost 9 in a row a few weeks back and were leading the wild-card, wouldn’t we be talking about how well Guillen (who isn’t Japanese I think) has fit in in Seattle, after creating problems everywhere else he played. What a great clubhouse it has been. Etc…Etc… Maybe Seattle should have kept Griffey and A-Rod. With Ichiro that would be a pretty good basis for a team. Or did they leave because they knew the Japanese were coming…..Tora, tora, tora.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 3:20 pm
  • “…because everyone knows the rot in the NPB and its host country in general.”
    Jeez Polaris. Talk about painting with a broad, ugly brush. You really are an ignorant, racist a–hole aren’t ya. Too bad. Sound like someone who taught English over here for a year or two and returned to America the worse for wear. Didn’t know any Japanese and thus could never experience the culture as it experiences itself, was limited to a shitty job, loser friends, didn’t get laid nearly as much as you felt you deserved, and was at that wonderful age of feeling entitled and absolute ignorance. For good measure, you’ve read a few ivory tower books on Japan Inc. written by folks who know even less about Japan, but ideologically push all the right buttons. I’m sure your story is different, but this is what you sound like. And Sox fans, be careful. word is Okajima ain’t down with all this Big Papi leader of the team hype. Don’t be surprised if next year he is sitting on the bench next year until the seventh inning and then goes out to the bullpen. Just to keep an eye on the big fella and make sure he stays in line. The Japanese media and Toyota will make it so.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 3:50 pm
  • Kyoto: This is going to be my last response to this subject because I can see there’s nothing of substance in your remarks; just snide and sarcastic meandering and charges of racism against me in favor of the Japan…and THAT last dog definitely won’t hunt.
    Here’s why:
    Kyoto said: “”Jeez Polaris. Talk about painting with a broad, ugly brush. You really are an ignorant, racist a–hole aren’t ya. Too bad. Sound like someone who taught English over here for a year or two and returned to America the worse for wear. Didn’t know any Japanese and thus could never experience the culture as it experiences itself, was limited to a shitty job, loser friends, didn’t get laid nearly as much as you felt you deserved, and was at that wonderful age of feeling entitled and absolute ignorance. For good measure, you’ve read a few ivory tower books on Japan Inc. written by folks who know even less about Japan, but ideologically push all the right buttons. I’m sure your story is different, but this is what you sound like.””
    First, you definitely don’t know my occupation or my professional resume which probably outstrips your’s. An English teacher? Bah! Humanities are gimme majors. I’m an EE working in systems integration. No, I’ve never taught English in a Japanese school.
    But since we’re on the topic: Do you know what DODDS is?
    No?
    It’s a K-12 school system for American servicemen and their families overseas. Needless to say, there are quite a few of them set up around Japan like Yokosuka and Sasebo. I went to Yokosuke years ago (2001 I think for a CIWS/Aegis Remote Designate incorporation or a software conflict).
    The US military hires indigenous personell (if they clear backgrounds or if they trust the domestic affiliate to do it) to work on the bases. The DODDS-DODEA school system is one of the employers for such positions as landscaping, cafeteria work, janitors, electricians, etc, etc. Every time they had open positions, there was an avalanche of local Japanese wanting the job (so much so that apparently they learned to be more discreet about it).
    You might say: “so what, everyone wants a job.”
    No, this is different. The Japanese weren’t just “interested” in the laundry or janitorial work.
    They were “DESPERATE”.
    If you were an overseas employee of the DOD on the base, the DOD would allow your children to use the DODDS school system provided there were vacancies. To this day, I don’t know if it was official policy or just something the US military did out of kindness or mercy while keeping it “off-the-books” (However, I’ll never bring it up to their chain of command).
    “Mercy”? Why would letting Japanese kids into American schools [on the Japanese Home islands] be considered “mercy”. Why, do you ask, don’t they go to the next-door Japanese School where they can mingle with their own countrymen instead of with a bunch of foreign Gaijin?
    Why?
    Because these particular children are not PURE Japanese (to say NOTHING of the Phillipinos and Koreans working on the bases). Their parents KNOW what awaits them in the Japanese school system. They KNOW that, at worst, their child is going to be hen-pecked to death or just isolated with the Japanese silent treatment until he/she becomes catatonic. At BEST, the child will be seen benignly as a “haffu” and kind of cool because of it. But either way, the kid will never be accepted as part of the group (the Japanese had a word for group cohesion, but I forgot it).
    Even if the American kids can’t speak Japanese, the parents know that ANYTHING is better than what awaits in the Japanese educational system.
    No loving parent in that situation, given the choice between the Japanese System and the DODDS is going to have second thoughts about where to apply: the US Military sees it every time they have a job offer.
    When you wipe away all the B#ll-sh!t, it all comes down that: a loving parent who wants what’s best for his/her child.

    Polaris September 9, 2007, 7:04 pm
  • Both the US and Japan have private investigation industries (some call it the poor man’s spy-ring). Obviously, business related matters (I don’t know how they categorize THAT) are the Number One reason in Both countries to hire a private investigator.
    Care to guess what the second-most common reson is?
    In the US, the second-most common reason is to spy on your spouse for infidelity.
    In Japan..?
    In Japan, the second-biggest reason is to check the background of your FUTURE spouse. And the number-one disqualifier of that particular Japanese spouse?
    Two-words: Racial Purity.
    I can go on and people familiar with anything from Japanese bars to Japanese Law enforement to Japanese Baseball KNOW I can…
    But I don’t need to, do I…? No person who has ANY experience in Japan (Yes, there it is again) can deny that the evidence cited here is “anecdotal”. It’s par for the course. Racism in Japan is NORMAL.
    And that’s the reality whether some apologists admit it or not.

    Anonymous September 9, 2007, 7:15 pm
  • “NOT anecdotal”, good night everyone.

    Polaris September 9, 2007, 7:20 pm
  • This Polaris is talking about racial purity in Japan, even as he spews a barely concealed racist animus against all things Japanese.
    Next thing you know, he’ll go off about how the American nuking of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during WWII were morally justifiable.
    You’re giving a bad name to all Yankee fans, dawg.

    SoxFan September 9, 2007, 8:50 pm
  • Can we get back to baseball, please?
    -andrews

    Anonymous September 9, 2007, 8:57 pm
  • That’s enough folks. I don’t think we need to address US vs. Japanese educational philosophy here. Last time I checked, the US and Japan were allies. Our cultures are different, we each have our problems, and also lots to value. Leave it there. Let’s not get personal.

    YF September 9, 2007, 9:29 pm
  • Polaris,
    As I expected. A few years and out. Can’t speak or write the langauge. I’ll spare the crowd a list of my post-graduate degrees, fellowships, my gpa, published works, gre-scores, the number of languages I speak, etc…I’ve been in Japan for decades. Other countries too. I know many multi-racial children who have done quite well in Japanese schools. In fact, some of my own family who are “haffu” as you say I include in this statement. I am certainly not an apologist for Japan, and have spent much money and time fighting for values here that you and I would probably agree are worthwhile. And funny thing is I haven’t been alone. And funny thing is most people I’ve met tend to agree with me. I don’t find much enjoyment in talking with folks who are hysterical. Especially at a baseball site. So I’ll spare everyone a discourse on the virtues and vices of Japan and the Japanese through the Ages. But I also think I might have better ways to enjoy my free time and baseball than trying to contribute to this site as a commentator. I think the popping up of this kind of righteous indignation that Polaris so fully displays is inevitable when the subject of Japan comes up. And I have better ways to spend my time than battling ignorant and racist folks like him when baseball should be the subject. So. Cheers all.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 9:30 pm
  • p.s. thanks SoxFan, YF and others.

    kyoto September 9, 2007, 9:33 pm
  • Polaris, for your own good, end it. You’re spouting pure and complete bullcrap, and it’s bordering on language that can get you banned from this site. We don’t tolerate racist remarks here, and I read several in your rants that can be construed that way by any reasonable observer. Consider this a warning.
    As for Dice-K, he says he’s not tired. That’s good. The Globe today says he’s gotten away from his change and other offspeed stuff and tries to overthrow with runners on base, sacrificing command for velocity. In other words, exactly what Kyoto said. Bravo! Great insight.
    Hopefully, John Farrell, who seems to be a very good pitching coach, can turn things around, and soon.

    Paul SF September 9, 2007, 9:39 pm
  • Did the Globe article offer any explanation why he has gotten away from his change?
    -andrews

    Anonymous September 9, 2007, 10:54 pm
  • Here are the key paragraphs, Andrews:
    “When he’s in a big inning, he has a tendency to rely on his fastball and generate as much power as possible and, with that, he’s sacrificing location,” said Farrell, following the Sox’ 11-5 loss to the Orioles in which Matsuzaka lasted 2 2/3 innings, allowed eight earned runs, six hits, and three walks – two of them with the bases loaded.
    “He’s somewhat gone away from his offspeed pitch and hitters have had a chance to look in hard and not have to guard too much against anything soft.”
    I wonder if he feels the need to prove himself with the fastball, or has become frustrated with U.S. umpires and doesn’t feel he can count on throwing offspeed for strikes or what. Doesn’t really explain why he’s gotten away from the offspeed. Just says that he has.
    At any rate, I’d much rather a mechanical explanation than a physical one. Of course, it’s beneficial for the Sox if their opponents don’t think Matsuzaka’s hit a wall in terms of fatigue, so I’m not surprised we’re hearing about mechanics. I was surprised when Okajima was so candid about feeling fatigued.

    Paul SF September 9, 2007, 11:08 pm
  • thanks
    -andrews

    Anonymous September 10, 2007, 8:00 am
  • Looks like it was active weekend around here. Don’t you people have lives? :)
    On Dice-K, I have to say I’m mighty disappointed in his performance. If you had told me at the beginning of the year that he’d end up as a league average pitcher I would have been shocked. The price matters very much when it comes to evaluating him, and the fact that people think he should be dropped from the playoff rotation speaks volumes.
    That said, what frustrates the heck out of me is that he has the potential to be really great. He’s had more dominant games than Beckett and his stuff is just better. Whereas I think Beckett’s year is perfectly in line with his talent and past performance, I think Dice-K has crapped a load too many times to be counted on. It’s the variation that kills me – from outstanding, top of the game ace to bottom of the barrel replacement pitcher.
    For me, I don’t simply think it’s a matter of transition for Dice-K either. He was too good at the beginning of the year and now it seems everyone has caught up. The question for me is whether he makes another adjustment. But I just don’t see that happening in the next two weeks. But would the team really skip him in th ALDS? He’s the team’s only pitcher that could come out and simply blow away the opposition but then he could also destroy the pen. Maybe that’s perfect for a Game 3? Then maybe it’s Wake in relief?
    At least they have the Yankee game to gauge things better.

    Pete September 10, 2007, 8:34 am

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