The Matsuzaka story is actually the perfect example of what i would classify as “metasports” in my mind. I’ve been fascinated by this story since a few days before Daisuke’s fateful cross-country plane trip with the Red Sox brass, not because i really give a flying damn about who pitches for the Sox — i mean, not really, i’m happy to see the team do well or what have you but i’d trade 10 World Series for one Vanderbilt win over MTSU in football. The fascination for me is other people’s fascination, particularly in this case the Japanese media’s. (I’m reminded of a joke i heard from Tony Campolo: a sociologist is someone who, when a pretty girl walks in the room, is looking at everyone else to see their reaction.)
So this video on Matsuzaka is interesting, although nothing unexpected based on what was going on last fall when he was signed. I love how Japan as a nation is so caught up in this guy as a symbol of national pride — that if he succeeds, he reflects well on them on the world stage. My comparison would be when American soccer players play in England or Germany, but of course those guys are virtually unknown back here. Maybe i should say Brasilian soccer players in Spain or Italy, except that there are so many that they’re all playing each other.
I don’t know what they could hope to learn from Shaughnessy, though — maybe that you can sell a lot of books by beating to death some damn superstition that looks silly in retrospect, or maybe that you can get a gig as a multisports columnist without ever bothering to learn anything about other sports.