December 14, 2006


Red Sox break bank for Matsuzaka (AP, 12/15/06)

When talks stalled, the Red Sox brass flew uninvited to Boras' turf in Southern California on Monday to meet with him in person. They said they had to leave Wednesday morning, with or without an agreement; Boras has said Matsuzaka would not go to Boston for a physical unless the sides had the makings of a deal.

Boras said the final negotiating session began at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, and within 90 minutes he was confident there would be an agreement.

"Daisuke really had three choices," Boras said. "He could sign now. He could wait another year or he could wait two years and become a free agent. He had to determine how much money he was willing to give up now."

When Henry's plane took off -- with Matsuzaka aboard -- from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., Boston radio stations and Web sites tracked its path as religiously as they had been counting down the minutes to the deadline. After a four-hour, 43-minute flight, the Dassault Mystere 900 tri-jet with a Red Sox logo on the tail landed in a light rain at Hanscom Field in suburban Bedford at 5:16 p.m.

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, president Larry Lucchino and Epstein were seen coming off the plane with Matsuzaka and Boras. Matsuzaka exchanged handshakes and bows with some among the Red Sox welcoming party before getting into an SUV.

There were several dozen fans to greet him and about the same number of reporters, many of them Japanese.

As he left the airport for a physical at Massachusetts General Hospital, Matsuzaka rolled down his window and appeared surprised by the gathering. He waved and smiled when he stopped briefly alongside Kim Miner and Rebecca Powell, 17-year-olds who were holding a sign that said, "WELCOME HOME DAISUKE."

He dropped the puck for tonight's Bruins v. Devils game and seemed stunned by how crazy the place went. Little does he know--Doug Mirabelli gets the same treatment here....

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2006 7:06 PM
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