I'm not sure MLB can look any worse that it has in this case. It wanted two teams to start the season in Japan, so it agreed on appearance fees for players, coaches and trainers, then reneged on its promises to off-field personnel, ignored Terry Francona's phone calls for two days (which put the lie to the "miscommunication" defense), learned about a possible boycott of a nationally televised game several hours in advance, and still failed to resolve the issue. The money involved is mere peanuts to this multi-billion dollar industry. It's shameful. (For its next trick, perhaps MLB will cancel the dental insurance for its Park Avenue office employees.)
The Courant and Globe each have a timeline of the day's events.
I don't appreciate that coaches are [viewed as] second-class citizens. That has never sat well with me. We're over there representing Major League Baseball, and we've talked about doing it with class, but this is disheartening. This is hard to understand. We were told [they would be paid] and the players believed it, too. I double-checked on this [over the] winter.As I type this, the team has already landed in Tokyo. Jonathan Papelbon planned to play Texas Hold 'Em the entire flight. "My plan is to slow play the [expletive] out of them and take all their money. ... I don't read books."
Alex Cora went to Japan for an series of exhibitions against Japanese All-Stars in November 2004 ("See, I really was an All-Star") and he loved the experience.
I guess I felt the same way Americans feel when they come to Puerto Rico and everyone is speaking Spanish. I went to Japan and everyone was speaking Japanese. It was just a great experience. ... [Hideo Nomo] took me out one night to one of the best restaurants I've ever been to. The food might be an issue to some people but, to me, it was awesome. It was just a little hole in the wall, but probably the best sushi experience I've ever had.Because of the delay (and possible cancellation) of the Jays game, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched for Pawtucket at the minor-league complex. He threw 78 pitches (50 strikes) in six innings against Rochester (6-3-1-1-8). John Farrell thinks Matsuzaka will throw about 85-90 pitches in the opener on Tuesday.
Josh Beckett threw a 45-pitch bullpen session Wednesday morning and will likely work in a minor league game on Sunday. Farrell: "[H]e proved that there were no restrictions when he got on the mound ... and surprisingly the arm strength hasn't suffered that much of a setback."
Bartolo Colon was assigned to minor-league camp.