The Texas Rangers won the right to negotiate with Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, submitting a record $51.7 million bid. When will Major League Baseball learn?
Scouting reports attest that Darvish throws seven different pitches, all with extraordinary skill. The hype surrounding Darvish is reminiscent of Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox bust who never came close to living up to his reputation as the savior–in-waiting for the Boston staff. Remember the Gyro ball which through its “double spin” mechanics was going to baffle even the most fearsome American League hitters? You could buy a Dice-K DVD that explained the Gyro ball’s mysteries.
As it turned out, Dice-K’s specialty was walking batters and putting his defense to sleep while he threw pitch after errant pitch. Early this summer, Dice-K announced that he will have Tommy John surgery which will sideline him for 2012. In all likelihood, the next time Matsuzaka pitches will be in Japan when he rejoins one of the national teams. [Surgery for Daisuke Matsuzaka
, ESPN, June 6, 2011]
Given the opportunity, Red Sox owners would trip all over themselves to get their $100 million plus back.
Maybe Darvish will be cheap at whatever price he signs for. Maybe he will lead the Blue Jays back to the World Series. Nevertheless, I’m opposed to globalism in baseball (and, for that matter in everything else) and therefore against his signing.
My reasoning could fill a book but I’ll summarize briefly.
Baseball is an American thing, and I want to see Americans playing it. Darvish probably is better than any pitcher at Rice University or Fresno State. But I enjoy watching those young Americans more than I do foreign-born players. I propose to you that if you filled a major league roster with NCAA All Stars, you would get as much pleasure—if not more—out of rooting for them.
Here are some examples. If the World Baseball Class were played in my back yard, I wouldn’t get off my couch to watch them. On the other hand, if the local North Allegheny High School played rival Central Catholic Vikings, I might plan my weekend around it.
I delighted in David Freese’s 2011 World Series heroics and the San Francisco Giants’ 2010 celebration. Among the Giants’ piled on top of each other after the final out mob scene: Tim Lincecum (Washington), Buster Posey (New Hampshire), Matt Cain (Alabama), Madison Bumgarner (North Carolina), Nate Schierholtz (Nevada) and Cody Ross (New Mexico).
Compare that scene to the 2009 post-game interview with Most Valuable Player Hideki Matsui conducted through a Japanese translator which annoyed me then and the thought of which still irks me today.
Or, locally, Pittsburgh-born Pirates’ second baseman Neil Walker’s achievements have captured the town. Around here, Walker is known as “Mr. Pittsburgh.”
My opinions are certain to be interpreted as radically post-American by some and probably expose me as a fossilized fuddy-duddy tilting at windmills. I won’t argue.
But I won’t apologize either.