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Matsuzaka pitches first game in Boston
 
 
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masuzaka first game ticket
John, the only person I know with great Red Sox season tickets, had someone back out on him for one of the biggest games of the season: the first game pitched by Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K) in his new home at Fenway Park in Boston. So he twisted my arm and made me come.
 
crowd matsuzaka first game
I knew this was going to be a popular game, so I checked out my window at work to see how the crowds were shaping up. At 2:30PM, Fenway looked pretty normal.
 
crowd matsuzaka first game 2
But by 4:30PM, the park was already jammed with people; two-and-a-half hours before the first pitch!
 
dennis eckersley nesn
John and I met up an hour before game time, to make sure we'd get to our seats before the first pitch.

Dennis Eckersley was in his normal spot for NESN.
 
japanese reporters matsuzaka
But there were plenty of unfamiliar faces in the crowd too.
 
matsuzaka pregame
Before the game Matsuzaka walked out to stretch a little on the field
 
matsuzaka dunkin donuts
where even the dunkin donuts advertisements were geared towards the new Red Sox pitcher.
 
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After the grounds crew finished cleaning up the field, the starting lineup was announced.
 
starting lineup dice K
Dice-K was announced in Japanese (I don't know Japanese, but the announcer sounded like he'd practiced quite a bit).
 
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The Japanese ambassador threw out the first pitch,
 
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Dice-K threw a couple warm-up pitches on the sideline,
 
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and we were ready for action.
 
masuzaka windup
And after a few of these wind-ups,
 
masuzaka windup 2
it became clear that Dice-K wasn't going to windup stealing the show in his first start in Boston. He didn't pitch bad,
 
felix hernandez one hitter
but Felix Hernandez pitched an unbelievable game. He was unhittable. The Red Sox couldn't even get the ball past the infield most of the day. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth. I started pulling for the Mariners and the no-hitter.

John predicted that if Hernandez could get by JD Drew, it'd be smooth sailing for the ninth. But alas, JD Drew, the disappointing Cardinal, underachieving Dodger, and so far excellent Red Sox, hit a little dinky single.
 
john fenway park
The Sox lost of course (hard to win with only one-hit), but years from now when Dice-K goes into the Hall of Fame, the one-hitter will just be a side-note in our story of the time we saw Daisuke Matsuzaka, at Fenway Park, pitch his first home-game for a Major League baseball team.

I can't thank John enough for letting me have part of that story.