BYE BYE BARDIE
Poking around the PawSox clubhouse early Sunday, Daniel Bard was conspicuous in his absence. The tall right handed fireballer has been promoted to Boston, and why not? The former Carolina star struck out 29 hitters in 16 innings of work with the PawSox. Bard converted 6 of 7 save opportunities and surrendered just 2 earned runs in 11 outings. There is no such thing as a “sure thing”, but in my opinion, Daniel Bard is as close as you can get. As we went on the air Sunday, no corresponding move had yet been made. Daniel, we hardly knew ye.
Daisuke Matsuzaka made a rehab start Sunday in Columbus and “Dice-mania” was in the air. The Clippers granted 20 extra press credentials to members of the Japanese media, as well as another 20-25 for curious media members who ordinarily don’t cover the club. Although this probably wouldn’t make Theo Epstein laugh, I got a pretty good chuckle as I made my way into the park. A van carrying the Matsuzaka posse pulled up and all but the pitcher got out as they tried to figure how to avoid autograph seekers and get him inside the stadium. While Matsuzaka sat in the van alone, I overheard a couple of starstruck fans comment on the running van and the man inside it. “Hey” said one, “Let’s get in the van and kidnap Dice-K.” Although I’m certain they were kidding, I was ready to be a hero and stop the crime. They looked kind of wimpy, I think I could have taken them.
The Japanese are much more formal than we Americans are. Matsuzaka texted RJ the other day and asked if the PawSox had a dress code. Johnson, the self-proclaimed Redneck texted back and told his pitcher- “Boots, Wrangler jeans and a George Strait shirt”. Wisely, Dice did not comply. Sometimes, east should not meet west.
Sometimes, it’s tough to measure a mans worth. Other times, it’s pretty easy. When Boston successfully earned the right to negotiate with the Seibu Lions for Dice, they had to pay the Japanese team a posting fee of 51 million dollars. The Lions set aside about 5 milll for player salaries and used the rest for a renovation of their ballpark. Included in the overhaul, complete restoration of the restrooms. In Japan, apparently warm toilet seats are considered a luxury and a sign of respect, and every time a Seibu Lions fan uses the facility, they can thank the Red Sox and Dice-K. Talk about a legacy.
Speaking of bathroom humor (for the record- I like it)- one of the funniest things I ever saw at a ballpark took place at Fenway Park during the 2003 playoffs. I was in the crowded restroom, waiting patiently for my turn. Standing in front of one of the stall doors, guarding the man inside, were a pair of burly men, arms folded, stoic as the guards at Buckingham Palace. As the door opened, out came the honorable Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and staunch Yankees fan. Folks buzzed about the hero of the 9/11 disaster, among them in the bathroom. The next man who used the stall, shut the door, and loud enough for all to hear, shouted “Hey, Rudy had corn for lunch!!!”