Friday, April 06, 2007


Nehru jackets, bell bottoms, miniskirts. Fashions come and fashions go. But classic elegance and starting pitching escape fashion trends with an immutable permanence.

The Red Sox have always sought to alter the balance of power in the AL East. They accomplished it in 2003 with a Thanksgiving Day dinner which yielded Curt Schilling. And last winter, they reaffirmed their commitment to escalation of the uncivil war with the Big Apple taking a big bite by acquiring the plum of free agency by outbidding the baseball universe for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Yesterday, the offseason spending spree yielded its first dividends, with Matsuzaka dominating the Kansas City Royals with a ten-strikeout performance. Part of you says, "it's only was really cold...Mike Sweeney didn't's 'only' the Royals...", but the Angel on the other shoulder says, "the balance of power is broken", and your counterparts south and west are sweating visibly, preparing to retaliate in baseball's version of the Tong Wars.

How did Matsuzaka do it? He mixed in sharp breaking stuff down and in to the lefthanders, with a refined ability to control both sides of the plate with his fastball, reminiscent of Jim Palmer of the seventies. Stylin'. And his next start, at Fenway Park, against Ichiro and the Mariners, becomes a landmark date at Ye Olde Ballpark.

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