Red Sox Are a Big Hit In Japan - A’s, Not So Much

The Boston Red Sox & Oakland A’s will open the MLB regular season with a tilt in the Tokyo Dome on Tuesday morning (6 a.m. start New England time).

Red Sox in Japan Wally mascot with kids

And Susan Slusser of the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE reports how the Red Sox have been regaled in the Land of the Rising Sun, while the A’s are an afterthought in the Asian nation:

Reporters thronged to a news conference with Boston brass and players, but the majority cleared out when the A’s arrived. Boston’s exhibition games were packed and received top billing; the A’s drew less than half the fans.

It helps that the Sox’s pitching staff includes two Japanese stars - Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima. And Japan’s media has been swooning over Dice-K since his arrival back to his home country. One reporter referred to him as a “Japanese treasure”, while local media members have quizzed their American counterparts about Dice’s chances for no-hitting the A’s.

Technically, Oakland is the official home team for Tuesday’s matchup. But A’s outfielder Travis Buck knows it won’t feel like it, saying, It will be like playing at Boston. Full house, lots of noise.” And the Sox should also be buoyed by a large group of home-groen fans who spent $5,000 on a VIP travel package to see their team in Tokyo.

But not everyone is enjoying the current occupation by Red Sox Nation:

Rowdy Boston fans at the Tokyo Dome have drawn some disapproving looks and comment. And back at the team hotel, one Japanese woman standing in the lobby surrounded by Red Sox fans turned to her companion and said, “These Boston people are awful.”

Hank Steinbrenner can have the U.S. for his Yankee hordes. Red Sox Nation is going global - whether you like it or not.