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Home » June 2009 Game CommentsJune 2009 » Yaji [野次]

Yaji [野次]

Game 67: June 19, 2009
W: Kenshin Kawakami (4-6)
32-34, 1 game winning streak
Red Sox2
L: Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-5)
40-27, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: It was Bermuda Night at Fenway and in honor of the event Red Sox fans lost their affection for Matsuzaka in the Bermuda Triangle. My friends were at the game and told me that some unacceptable terms were hurled in the Red Sox starter’s direction. I liked to think that Boston fans might accept whole-heartedly accept an Asian player but this is almost Byung-Hyun Kim redux. Jon Lester has had starts this season as bad as Daisuke Matsuzaka’s last night but wasn’t booed. Perhaps Matsuzaka have to be a cancer survivor to earn the fans’ undying love, but I think it’s something more vile underlying the Fenway crowd’s jeers. Yaji [野次] is the Japanese word for heckle, boo, and jeer.

The two characters in Kenshin Kawakami’s family name [川上] mean “stream” and “upper,” respectively, so his family lived upstream at some point. The two kanji in his given name [憲伸] symbolize “rule” or “constitution” and “develop” or “progress,” but instead of being a lawyer Kawakami became a professional baseball player. Kawakami played 11 years for the Chunichi Dragons before coming over to the major leagues to be the first Japanese player to don a Braves uniform.

Bobby Cox got less boos than Daisuke Matsuzaka when he came out to argue Jason Bay’s second inning double. In the fifth inning Casey Kotchman smacked a ball that followed a similar trajectory towards the left field chalk. Bay intercepted the sphere with a sliding catch that had him stopping just short of the wall of the left field stands. The left fielder was the only Red Sox hitter to get any hits let alone drive in runs; his two-run shot in the sixth made a fine souvenir for a fan in the Monster seats. He also had a base on balls and a fly ball to right that just missed the bullpens.

There were only three other Boston players to reach base: J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury drew walks. Matsuzaka wasn’t the only Red Sox player worthy of derision last night.

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