As if there weren’t already enough pressure on Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Upon their signing of 33-year-old former Japanese major league pitcher Akira Okamoto, the Nashua Pride have issued a challenge to the Red Sox and their $100 million import.
According to the Nashua Telegraph, if Okamoto wins more games for the Pride than Matsuzaka does for Boston, Pride front office personnel would gain admission to the EMC Club for the same number of games as the difference of wins. If Matsuzaka wins more games, the Pride front office would offer to clean Fenway Park for that same number of days.
Owner John Stabile upped the ante further, offering John Henry a case of 1990 Brunello di Montaicino Banfi for a dozen lobsters.
The Red Sox have yet to respond to the offer. But the fact that the Pride play 68 games fewer than the major league club might instantly seal the deal. Might as well take the bet. Who turns down free labor? Or free wine? For the case, heck, I'll take the gamble and clean Holman Stadium in exchange.
By the way, Okamoto’s (nickname, A-OK -- does it get better than that?) signature pitch is the wasabi ball. You might be surprised to discover there’s even less documentation on this legend than there is of Matsuzaka’s debunked gyroball, which is kind of like Fight Club by now -- no see, no hear, no speak.
Meanwhile, the following has no relevance, but it does beg the question if Butch Hobson -- or Terry Francona -- might be making a similar face come time for their respective prizes to take the mound.