Matsuzaka’s Fat Will Lower His ERA, And Other Assorted Double-Standards

I don’t understand this:

2. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox. Matsuzaka surprised the Red Sox by reporting to camp heavier than last year. He explained he enjoyed his best seasons in Japan when he carried more weight. Perhaps Matsuzaka also is better prepared for the grind of the longer major league season, which took its toll on the right-hander over the final two months of last season.

Maybe it’s true. Maybe Matsuzaka’s success really is directly proportional to his weight. I don’t know, although I’d love to see some numbers on this. It just irks me that the Red Sox seemingly get a pass for things like this. Call me a paranoid and delusional Yankees fan; that’s fine and probably true. But I implore you to hear me out on this. If any other high-profile pitcher in baseball did this, there would be questions about his dedication and work ethic. If not, it certainly wouldn’t be passed off as a good thing. It just always seems to be something with the Red Sox. Does anyone remember Josh Beckett (and subsequently, Peter Gammons) blaming a blister flare-up on a defective baseball? Does anyone remember the Red Sox saying Matsuzaka struggled because he couldn’t adapt to his new American mattress? It’s unbelievable.

Anyway, I would like to close with the following reminder. Red Sox don’t under-perform, they have defective baseballs and insurmountable mattress problems. Red Sox don’t get old and decline (despite having the oldest roster in baseball last season), they gain experience. Red Sox aren’t injury risks, they just get nicked up from playing so hard. Yankees, on the other hand, are overpaid mercenaries (despite having more home-grown players than the Red Sox), who are getting old and brittle. If they show up fat, they are spoiled slackers.

That’s it for now. Soon I will post the Second Annual Yankees-Red Sox Comparison, during which I will predict that the Yankees will win the division.

EDIT: In light of today’s Yankees-Rays brawl, I have a new double-standard to add to the preceding list. Rays players Jonny Gomes, Troy Percival, and manager Joe Maddon have all been quoted as saying (paraphrasing) “that’s not the Yankee way. Usually they’re professional and play the game the right way, but that’s not what happened today.”

Under Joe Torre, the Yankees would never, ever throw at an opposing player or seek revenge for prior incidents. Never. Torre was too “classy” for that stuff. It reached the point where – specifically in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry – Red Sox pitchers hit Yankee hitters twice as often as Yankees did Red Sox. I have the specific statistics on this somewhere; if you think I’m full of it, I’ll dig them out. Anyway, for years now the Yankees have maintained a general policy of non-retaliation, even following blatant acts of aggression.

This brings us to our newest double-standard. When other teams retaliate for previous incidents, it is known as “being old-school,” “defending your teammates,” or “showing heart and fire.” When the Yankees do it, it is called “borderline criminal” (Maddon) or “not the Yankee way” (Gomes).

I, for one, am thrilled with this development. I have no idea whether Girardi ordered this, or whether Shelley Duncan did this on his own. Regardless of its origins, I am completely and unabashedly optimistic that the Yankees are done being unwaveringly “classy.”

Is it March 31st yet?

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