Anyone who watched yesterday’s press conference with Daisuke Matsuzaka came away with the impression that some of his comments were lost in translation.
So what did he really say?
One member of Red Sox Nation who’s fluent in Japanese translated Matsuzaka’s comments directly, and some weren’t exactly as his translator relayed. Thanks to former Newton resident and Columbia University grad student Taka Tanaka for passing along this information, which includes some translated questions as well as Matsuzaka’s newly translated answers. And Thanks to the Globe’s Gordon Edes for helping to put this together:
QUESTION: I’d like to get your impression of Fenway Park, after pitching off the mound, your initial impression off the park that you’re going to be pitching in.
MATSUZAKA: I had seen [the park] on TV many times. Despite the construction, I was moved by the long history and the beauty of the ballpark. Imagining how it’ll look in perfect condition by Opening Day… I’m looking forward to it.
QUESTION: A question for Mr. Matsuzaka. I’m sure you just saw and walked in front of the Green Monster, which is very famous here at Fenway Park. Your nickname in Japan is “Kaibutsu”, literally “Monster”. Now that you’re a “Red Monster”, could you tell us how you feel?
MATSUZAKA: Right now, I’m just very happy and excited to have become a member of the Red Sox.
QUESTION: Have there been any talk about where you’ll fit into the rotation and with your new teammates, has there been any contact with your new teammates?
MATSUZAKA: I haven’t really thought about where I’ll pitch in the rotation. I can see that I’m being counted on, so I’ll do my best so that I can be a member of the rotation.
QUESTION. Welcome to Boston, Daisuke. Has it been a lifelong dream of yours to pitch in the major leagues, and also just tell us what’s on your mind right now, what kind of emotions are you’re going through on this day?
MATSUZAKA: I don’t really like the word “dream” to begin with. I think a dream is something you can have without realizing. I’ve always believed that I could pitch here and have held it as a goal, and acted on it. I think that because I’ve believed in and acted on it all along … that’s why I’m here today.
QUESTION: Daisuke, could you tell us how much you know about the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, and how much you’re looking forward to being part of it?
MATSUZAKA: I understand that they’re on each other’s minds a lot, and I also understand that the games aren’t like other games. Comparing it to Japan, maybe it’s something like a [Yomiuri] Giants and [Hanshin] Tigers game?
QUESTION: Daisuke, have you thought about pitching to Ichiro and Hideki Matsui again, and are you looking forward to that?
MATSUZAKA: [Grinning.] I’m looking forward to it greatly.
QUESTION: Seeing the number of journalists here just to cover you, what do you think about the possibility of making so many new Matsuzaka fans?
MATSUZAKA: I can see all that they pay a lot of attention to me. Whether or not they become fans, I think that’s ultimately up to me.
QUESTION: Congratulations on finalizing the contract. During the month-long negotiating period, media in both Japan and the US covered you very closely. This month-long period, did it feel long? Did it feel short? What was going through your mind during this time?
MATSUZAKA: It felt extremely long. Maybe over here, it’s the norm to keep negotiating all the way to the deadline. But I have an impatient personality, so I wanted things to be decided either way much sooner. I would have liked to decide sooner.
QUESTION: What do you view as the biggest challenge coming over to play baseball in the United States? How difficult do you envision that transition being?
MATSUZAKA: Just as when I started playing professional baseball in Japan, I won’t know until I try. So I’d like use this one year to figure that out.
QUESTION: You said it was your goal to play Major League Baseball. What is your goal in your first year with the Red Sox? And also, is there any player that you are looking forward to meet that’s on the Red Sox, any particular player you’ve always followed?
MATSUZAKA: As a start, I’d like to make the Opening Day roster as a member of the Red Sox. I’d like to contribute as much as possible toward becoming World Champions.
The player I’d like to meet is Curt Schilling.
QUESTION: What were you able to learn about the Red Sox be it their history or current makeup; what do you know about the franchise?
MATSUZAKA: There are many really good players. I think it’s a really good team.
QUESTION: In your life so far there have been many significant points in your life, such as the Koshien championship, going pro, the Japan Series championship, getting married … How does this new step, becoming a member of the Red Sox, compare to those?
MATSUZAKA: Maybe I’m supposed to say that this is the most exciting, but to be honest, my marriage comes first, then the birth of my child … This is the most exciting after those things.
QUESTION: Matsuzaka-san, which matchup are you most looking forward to? Any player in particular you’d like to face? Also, you’ve spent the last few days these few days immersed in English. What is your impression of that? Are you tired?
MATSUZAKA: As I said before, the person I want to face most is Ichiro-san. We faced each other for two years in the Pacific League, and we haven’t since. So in that sense, I would like to face Ichiro-san again. And of course, Matsui-san, too. I’m looking forward to it.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the challenges you face, not only in changing to a new league and adapting to a new league but a new culture as well?
MATSUZAKA: At first, I may be bewildered by cultural differences, but I think I can adjust quickly.
QUESTION: The value of the contract is reported as six years, $52 million, much higher compared to your time in Seibu. How do you feel about that? Do you feel any unusual pressure because of this?
MATSUZAKA: I think that amount would have been difficult to reach if I had stayed with the Lions. Of course, there is some pressure that comes with that sum. Just a little bit, though.
QUESTION: I think the fans here in Boston here will be very happy if you say that you came here to beat the Yankees. Do you have any intention of saying that for the fans? If so, I’d like to hear you say it.
MATSUZAKA: Actually, before this conference, we were having a conversation about this, and I was told that saying that would get a good reaction. I thought they were kidding, so I haven’t said it.