The Baseball Desert

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Lost in translation

Well, the Sox won last night, but I'm damn pleased I wasn't there to see it. Daisuke and Lopez giving up 9 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings would not have been good for my health.

I have to admit that, as much as I like watching him pitch, Daisuke drives me crazy. After 15 years of life in a foreign country, I know that cultural differences can play a major role in any professional context. But in Daisuke's case, I have trouble dealing with those differences.

It's somewhat ironic, because the trait that I have the most trouble with is one which people - especially here in France, where everybody wears their emotions on their sleeve - readily associate with me. The comments are always along the same lines: "We're never know what you're thinking", "You never get worked up", "You always seem so calm." For the most part, I like that. I don't think it'd be enough to make me an overnight success on the World Poker Tour, but there are plenty of situations in which it's good not to show your cards all the time.

Daisuke's poker face, however, always seems to be taken to the extreme. My annoyance began in earnest last week, when he kicked off the Yankees series by giving up 5 runs (including 2 home runs) and taking the loss. It's bad enough getting kicked in the nuts by the Yankees, but seeing your starting pitcher watch the ball fly out of the ballpark without showing a hint of anything is too much.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, of Japan, adjusts his cap after giving up a three-run home run to Toronto Blue Jays' Troy Glaus during the sixth inning at Fenway Park in Boston, Monday, Sept. 3, 2007. (Photo: AP; Caption: Yahoo Sports )

I don't necessarily want him throwing at guys, destroying water coolers or punching dugout phones, but I need something to work with. I want to sense he's taking this beating as badly as I am.

Of course, this is not going to happen, just as I'm not going to start leaping around the office as soon as anything starts to go wrong. Daisuke is a package. The culture and history that mean he remains stone-faced on the mound are the same culture and history which mean he can, say, throw 130 pitches on 3 days' rest, so I'll just have to take the rough with the smooth and deal with it. And if the smooth means 18 wins by the end of the season, I think I'll probably be able to handle it pretty well.