Commissioner Bud Selig runs a tight ship when it comes to ballplayers and silly proclamations.
It is, therefore, no surprise that his ears perked up when injured Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka told Boston media on Sunday morning that he is aiming to return to the team in 2012—after he is finished recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The offending remarks from the Japanese right-hander (“I’m sure I will come back to the Red Sox…”) were met with immediate alarm.
“We cannot allow active or former players to terrorize fans and jeopardize the popularity and integrity of our on-field product in any way,” said a spokesperson for the commissioner’s office. “We want to reassure our fans that, under various statutes in the sport’s rulebook (both written and unwritten), as well as relevant modifications to the Geneva Convention and our liberal interpretation of the New Testament, Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be permitted to pitch anywhere in North America ever again.”
Matsuzaka, who has indeed tortured Red Sox fans for years with his deliberate pace and varying degree of effectiveness, returned to Japan last week to finalize plans for reconstructive surgery.
Fans and media alike had presumed the end had mercilessly arrived until the pitcher returned to Boston and expressed optimism at a possible return.
“The very idea that fans could be subjected to not only minor league rehabilitation starts, but also late-season, drama-filled games at the major league level is really pretty upsetting,” Selig said in a statement Monday afternoon. “Four-plus seasons of his work have indeed been plenty. Enough is enough.”
The commissioner’s office expects to finish gathering information about the interview session and finalize Daisuke’s punishment later this week. The team-employed translator on hand at the time of the remarks will also be disciplined for his role.
A portion of the monetary fine that is collected will be donated to government agencies dedicated to ending Attention Deficit Disorder.
Boston fans were understandably distressed as the news spread throughout various news outlets.
“It’s obviously an idle threat, but you have to draw the line somewhere,” said Christopher Mayhew from Brewster. “I feel sorry that Daisuke is hurt and has to go under the knife, but I’m also ecstatic that he’ll be out of my life and that I won’t have to worry about buying tickets to a game he winds up starting.”
Nancy Thwylynski from Uxbridge agreed. “Just more pain for us New England sports fans, I guess. We really have to just continue to endure and pray for closure.”
Amazingly, even Matsuzaka’s agent Scott Boras is on board with what is expected to be a sizable fine for the remarks.
“They have to do something,” Boras said. “I am not prepared to compromise my integrity as an agent by having to put together a free agency proposal for this man. It would simply require too much manpower to attempt to construct a binder of metrics trumpeting him as a viable free agent. Even I know when to call off the dogs.”