I've been bothered by reader comments on various major newspaper sites, over the recent Dice-K spat with pitching coach John Farrell. The repeated themes are that Dice-K is a spoiled diva, garbage as a player, way overpaid, the next odd Manny (minority target for Boston papers), and a clubhouse cancer. I'll address each of these points:
1. Stubborn, spoiled diva. Why is nobody questioning Farrell? I don't think the guy is an elite pitching coach based on his work since he's joined the staff. He previously worked as a minor league director (not coach) for the Indians, so his teaching mentality isn't used to dealing with estalished MLB veterans. Farrell trying to force a change on Dice-K, is as stupid as a hitting coach trying to drastically change the approach of an already-extremely-successful hitter in the major leagues. I remember Beckett being pretty stubborn to the Sox about his rehab training/approach when he was hurt and horrible in the recent past, yet the fan comments were completely different towards Beckett.
2. Garbage as a player. Dice-K broke 200 strikeouts in his first season, then in his second season went 18-3 with a sub-3 era, and the lowest batting average against hitters in the entire league. He was 3rd in Cy Young voting. Clearly, the guy knows how to pitch and has had great success when healthy. Also, once the umps start giving him the corner calls (like Maddux and Glavine got) instead of routinely screwing him over, he would be even more dangerous as a pitcher.
Daisuke Matsuzaka Stats, News, Photos - Boston Red Sox - ESPN
3. Way overpaid. Before his injury this year, I don't think anyone would say Dice-K was overpaid based on his two healthy seasons. The guy is making 52Million over 6 years (not even 9M/year). His posting fee was 51Million, which his old team received and he did not get. Even considering the total amount spent on him, consider these other players whose performance isn't anywhere close to their pay (there are tons of other examples, these are just the ones off the top of my head). The fan complaints and mentions of their contracts aren't nearly what Dice-K gets every time he's mentioned in the news:
Barry Zito makes 18.5million
JD Drew makes 14million
Bronson Arroyo makes 10.1million
Jason Kendall makes 13.4million
Torii Hunter makes 18 million
Derek Jeter makes 21million
4. The next oddball Manny, or a clubhouse cancer. First, Dice-K has been here three years and this is the first time any article has been made about him disagreeing with management. I think the Globe and other media articles are exaggerating and blowing it up, more than what was actually said. You'll notice that most articles don't even directly translate or cite what Dice-K said to the Japanese media. There is plenty of media distortion on this, all anti-player and pro-management.
Second, Boston media has a history of demonizing minority players more than White players, even those who produce. Whether it be on Manny, Pedro, or past players not just in baseball but across sports, the Boston media (as well as its population) has an existing reputation as it pertains to treating its non-White players.
Third, Boston news has always demonized the player and sided with management over any disagreements. Look at the media and how much Nomar was demonized and how quickly the fans turned on him, look at Manny, look at Pedro, look at other stars who were immediately demonized the moment they decided to leave town, or had an argument with the Sox management. Boston media is masterful at manipulating its populace into hating a player, when it wants to. It's a double standard that the media always presents the management's side, and that the players hardly ever have their voices or perspectives heard among the mass population.