And brings you into the ballpark with the column for Daisuke Matsuzaka's first start at Fenway. (The headline for which could also describe the last decade of Dan's career.)
It was a pretty good effort, offering some interesting detail about Daisuke's day and actually providing an in depth description of the game, which is rare because Dan usually spends the game writing his column instead of watching.
It wasn't a clean slate, however. He once again felt obligated to refer to Matsuzaka as the "$103 million Red Sox rookie." I wish sports reporters would get over the fascination with player salaries. It's unbecoming and irrelevant.
Then there is this analogy that doesn't hold up: "This was Japanese baseball's version of Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain". First, basketball matchups aren't anything like the batter vs. pitcher matchup. He has all of baseball history to reference and he feels the need to go back 40+ years for two basketball players? Second, professional basketball in the 1960's wasn't nearly the sensation that baseball is in Japan. How about something from the 80's or 90's when Americans were actually watching basketball?
And Dan's lame joke for the evening is attributed to someone else, but he cannot avoid it still falling flat: "It was, in the words of one reporter, the million cameramen march." It's close, but maybe next time his cultural references can be from the last decade. Baby steps.