Greatest Photos Ever (non-Sam Division)

On Monday in Columbus, Daisuke Matsuzaka made his first-ever appearance in Ron Johnson’s “Circle of Trust.”

(if you’re not familiar with “The Circle” you should probably read this previous blog entry before continuing).

Knowing that he would be facing a wide variety of questions from his teammates, Daisuke brought his interpreter Masa Hoshino into the circle with him.

But that’s not all.

Several members of the Japanese media also pulled in close to hear what was being said and get pictures and video.  RJ made several attempts to say that the circle was strictly off-limits to the media, but apparently wasn’t understood due to the language barrier.

As a result, we have two tremendous photographs courtesy of photographer Shingo Nogami from the Nikkan Sports News.

Dice-K tips cap (resized).jpg

In the above photo, Dice-K tips his cap after officially being welcomed to the team.  A few minutes later the questions began and one of his answers produced a huge burst of laughter.

Dice-K in circle (resized).jpg

I told RJ that he is going to be huge in Japan after that photo appears in the Nikkan Sports News.

(Hyder quickly pointed out that RJ is huge everywhere).

By the way, I had lunch with the PawSox manager yesterday and when we discussed Daisuke’s upcoming appearance in the “circle,” I suggested that he ask him this question:  “What is your favorite American expression?’

Bob Costas asked Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki that question a few years ago, and it produced one of the funniest answers ever.

In English, Ichiro said, “August in Kansas City is hotter than two rats “fooling around” in a wool sock.”

I have edited that slightly.  If you want to see the original version — and I warn you that it includes adult language — you can watch it here.

Daisuke will throw in the bullpen on Tuesday in Toledo before making his third rehab start on Friday.  Barring a setback, he should be ready to return to the Red Sox after that.

* * * * *

I suspect Jeff Natale will have plenty of volunteers the next time he does an interview for the pre-game show.  Yesterday, Natale did his first one and choose his spring training roommate Sean Danielson for a guest.

Danielson prompty had his best game in five years as a pro, going 5-for-6 with three singles, a double, and a home run (matching his HR total from last year).

Natale is planning to do one interview a week and we’re taking suggestions for a good name for the segment (e-mailer Bobby Tierney came up with “Natale’s Nation).  If you have an idea, e-mail it to  The winner will get a $25 gift card to Gregg’s Restaurant.

* * * * *

There’s a good story today about Clay Buchholz in the Eagle-Tribune.  Clay makes his next start on Wednesday in a game that starts at 10:30 in the morning.  Buchholz isn’t too excited about that starting time and admits he’s not much of a morning person.  I reminded Clay that the Toledo batters probably aren’t exactly thrilled about the prospect of trying to hit him a couple of hours after rolling out of bed.

* * * * *

I’ve found the perfect gift for my broadcast partner and pal Steve Hyder — dirt from the old Yankee Stadium.

Speaking of Hydes, he was a winner last night in “Stump Steve.”  In honor of Randy Johnson getting his 298th career win, we played “The List.”

In this case, it included the last 5 pitchers to reach 300 career wins.  Steve had to name 4 out of 5 to be a winner and I allowed him to have one incorrect guess.

The answers (in order) are:  Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton.

Hydes quickly got the first three, then missed with Phil Niekro, before getting Nolan Ryan for the win.  He improved to 11-13 this season.

* * * * *

Tonight in Toledo, Enrique Gonzalez will try to move into a tie for the league lead with 5 wins as the PawSox open a 4-game series against the Mud Hens.

Since the Red Sox don’t play until 10:05, I hope you’ll tune in to our broadcast first.  Pre-game coverage starts at 6:15 on the PawSox radio network and

I’d love to hear from you.  The address is




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