RetirementHard luck for Matsuzaka. I know someone who has some financial incentive in Daisuke getting 15 wins this year, and I'm feeling for him right now. Here's to one last start this regular season, probably against the Twins, and a 15th victory for our man. To my friend out there, you know who you are, I'm pulling for you big time.
With likely a single solitary start for Matsuzaka in the regular season and at least one in the postseason, I think it's time to announce the retirement of Matsuzaka Watch. When the Red Sox season comes to its natural conclusion, either in a champagne drenched locker room celebrating another title, or in more humble surroundings after a playoff defeat, I will hang up my Matsuzaka blog for good.
I've followed Daisuke on a start-by-start basis for 4 complete seasons now, and since his high school days from the periphery. Starting this blog was a way to reach out to the baseball-loving public and to turn fans of our national pastime on to the Japanese game via its most dynamic talent. Over the last two seasons, I have devotedly written about each Matsuzaka start, both with Seibu and the Red Sox, not to mention the World Baseball Classic. I've covered theoretical projections, analysis of various features of his workload in Japan, and I've argued tooth and nail with many doubters about his viability in the Major Leagues.
It has been interesting to me to watch the conversation transform itself from a very small group of interested fans to a swell of mania in the days of the posting process to a season of ups and downs for Matsuzaka as he's navigated the very different game in the Major Leagues. The conversation started with questions about Japan and the Japanese style of play, prospects headed to the Major Leagues, and heated debates with many people who were too narrow-minded to accept the possibility that every Japanese pitcher would not suffer the same fate as Hideki Irabu, Kazuhisa Ishii, and others. My approach has been a combination of my own enthusiastic fan's perspective, rudimentary metrics, first hand knowledge of the Japanese game, and consultation with people a lot smarter than me.
Thanks to the excitement generated by this blog I have been able to expand my coverage to include other dynamic players such as Yu Darvish, Yuki Saito, Sho Nakata, Kosuke Fukudome, Koji Uehara, and more. I have joined a team of outstanding baseball minds at Baseball Prospectus to cover Japan and hopefully increase the interest and knowledge of the universality of this game. In a way, I am proud that my efforts have contributed to broadening the understanding of Japan and Japanese culture as a result of our common love for baseball. I will continue to cover the Japanese game for BP as well as the many other blogs that have spun off from this effort.
I'll have some final words for you after the final out has been recorded for the Sox. There will be some housecleaning to do and some perspective to consider. I will leave you with some thoughts on his first season, his future, and some personal feelings about what this experience has meant to me. I will also leave you some links as a reminder of where to find my writing if you are interested in reading more. I will always find my outlet for writing about the Japanese game, and the sport in all its forms. Until the last out, stay tuned for regular coverage and keep your fingers crossed for win #15, for Daisuke, for the Sox, and for my unnamed friend......