Lunch with Dice-K and Okaji
What a pleasant surprise. The two Japanese pitchers on the Red Sox — Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima — took all the Boston writers who are in Fort Myers out to lunch at a country club this afternoon.
Daisuke showed up in a V neck sweater and slacks while Okaji had on a collared, white shirt and shorts. They both seemed to enjoy their 90-minute session with the scribes, which was vastly helped by translators Masa Hoshino and Sachiyo Sekiguchi, both of whom are working full-time for the Red Sox this season.
The lineup included yours truly, Globe representatives Gordon Edes and Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Herald scribes Mike Silverman and Tony Mazz as well as Sean McAdam from the Providence Journal, Rob Bradford from the Lawrence Eagle-Tribute, Jeff Goldberg from the Hartford Courant and Glenn Miller of the Fort Myers News-Press. Add in the translators, the two pitchers and Red Sox crack PR guy John Blake, and we had a nifty table for 15.
I went for the coconut shrimp appetizer and chicken quesadillas. Daisuke liked the Chicken Wrap and coleslaw while Okajima went for a salad and a side of fruit.
It was interesting to see both pitchers ask the waitress very easily in English, "Iced Tea, please."
The whole lunch was very well orchestrated. It didn’t feel like a question and answer session even though it was one. It just felt like a bunch of guys getting together for lunch and talking about different stuff, albeit in different languages.
And Daisuke dropped an interesting nugget for those avid Sox fans who might see him in downtown restaurants this summer:
"The one thing that I
dislike is that if I’m in the middle of a meal, and people come up and ask for
a photo or an autograph, at that time I’m sort of forced to ask them to wait
until I’m done eating my meal. If they’re willing to wait, then after that, I’d
be more than happy to give them an autograph or take a picture."
Fair enough, right?
There were two highly comical moments from the lunch:
Daisuke imitating Pedro’s takedown of Don Zimmer from the ’03 playoffs and accidentally banging his pitching elbow on the table. Fortunately, he was not heard, though a few people looked semi-horrified at the moment of contact
The other funny moment was when Shaughnessy asked Matsuzaka to imitate the grip of the non-existent gyroball by using a dinner roll. Matsuzaka looked at the roll a couple of times, then said there was a grip, but he just couldn’t show it. Top secret stuff!
Daisuke is not sure yet what type of music he’ll come out to during his Fenway starts this season.
“I’m very torn. I’m debating whether to go with an
American artist or a Japanese artist.”
He seems to have a vast taste in music:
"I listen to rock, R&B, hip hop, a lot of different
Oh, and by the way, Matsuzaka is a very big Angelina Jolie fan.
"Obviously she’s very pretty but there’s an aura about
her. She also has a strength and poise that I find attractive.”
All in all, a great day. It was the first time the American media has really had a chance to get to know the pitchers in an informal setting. They both seem like really genuine, good guys. It was a lot of fun. To see much more of the questions and answers, check out the full story on redsox.com
The Mayor’s Cup is on the line tonight. Schilling vs. Santana. Schilling left with a 4-0 lead with two outs in the fifth and got a rousing ovation. This one counts. The winner drinks champagne. The loser fumes over not being able to hold that coveted trophy that Fort Myers residents will be talking about until next March.