proudly declares, it chronicles “The First Season of the Red Sox $100 Million Man.” But, that is cutting things a little short. The book really covers everything leading up to, and including Dice-K’s first season with the Sox. It discusses in detail life-building events like the Koshien tournament. It talks about his time with the Seibu Lions as he honed his craft. It goes into great detail into the posting process where Matsuzaka became eligible to play in the Major Leagues. It discusses the negotiations between him and the Red Sox on that first contract. And, of course, it talks all about his first season in Boston. All that is presented as a way of answering the question, “Who is Dice-K?”
Similar to when I talked about the great book “Becoming Manny”, this book really depends on whether the reader is already a Dice-K fan, or not. If you think Matsuzaka is an overpaid nibbler who “JUST WON’T THROW STRIKES!” this book isn’t going to do much for you. You’ll gloss over it as a list of excuses for why Dice-K doesn’t already have four Cy Young Awards. But, if you think Dice-K is a fine pitcher who is misunderstood, that’s another story. This book will explore the transition from Japan to the United States. It gets into the root of the differences between the Red Sox way and the Matsuzaka way. Why does he throw so many pitches? Why does he look lost sometimes on the mound? Why does that one big inning always seem to get him? It explains that, perhaps, the reason everything seems so foreign with him is because it is. It’s also interesting that the book came out in 2008. I wonder if any of it would be different with three more seasons under his belt? Whether you feel Dice-K has been a boon or a bust, any Red Sox fan should read this book. After reading it, I have a newfound appreciation for Matsuzaka, and what he is as a pitcher. Of course, I was a fan before I started reading.
Rating: 4 bases