When the trip was first proposed, the major 'cool factor' for fans was that our new favorite right-hander would get to play the season opener in his homeland. But then his wife got pregnant and plans got shakey. Luckily, Mrs. Matsuzaka (Tomoyo Shibata), gave birth to a healthy baby this past Saturday, and according to reports, the new dad might even serve as starting pitcher.
Or at least that was the word until yesterday when the question arose as to whether or not there would even be a game to start! Apparently the players were promised a $40,000 stipend (stipend? seriously?) for their trip, and having the camaraderie that the Red Sox organization has, simply assumed that the stipend would also apply to all coaches, trainers, and other staff also making the journey to Tokyo.
Turns out, that wasn't the plan.
So, taking a cue from the rest of the country which was riddled with war protests, the Sox staged a protest of their own, refusing to leave the dugout until more fair terms were agreed upon.
Of course the players aren't really activists by nature so the sit-in (dugout-in?) didn't last more than an hour, but they did reach their goal, and the official website of the team confirms that Rich Levin, senior Vice President of public relations for MLB stated that all involved with the trip will be fairly compensated.
You can read a full report here.
And if you want to see that opening pitch yourself, set your alarm early for Tuesday March 25! The first pitch is at 6:05 AM.
Of course if you'd prefer to not watch the game alone in your pajamas, you could head over to Koto for their "Boston Red Sake" event. Big screens, free coffee, and Japanese breakfast specials... it does sound tempting...