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Comments on my Article - written for High School Newspaper in Toronto, Canada

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mattklar, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. mattklar

    mattklar New Member

    Hey, i was wondering how this compares to other articles you think High School journalists are writing. It is an old article - but i was just curious. Thanks
    Six Billion Yen

    By: Matt Klar

    The biggest thing to surface from Japan since Nintendo is going to land in Boston next spring. His name is Daisuke Matsuzaka, and he’s coming to a Ballpark near you.

    There was palpable excitement on the eve of November fifteenth on a stretch of Beacon Street near Fenway Park, where the local bakery serves Japanese delicacies, lunch menus are heavy on sushi, and the wine shop stocks 37 types of sake. Sprawled across the tables of the Japonaise Bakery and Café was a Boston Globe, was an open sports section, which graced a snapshot of the best pitcher in the world.
    The news that the Boston Red Sox secured 26-year-old Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka triggered an enthusiastic buzz that spread throughout Red Sox Nation, that Wednesday night. However that buzz did not come at a reasonable cost, as GM Theo Epstein placed a winning bid of a whopping 51.1 million, or 6 billion Yen, if you prefer that currency, for simply the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka.

    “We have long admired Mr. Matsuzaka’s abilities and believe he would be a great fit with the Red Sox organization,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein told reporters. “Clearly, we believe Mr. Matsuzaka is a real talent.”
    So why is this Japanese pitcher who has yet to throw a single pitch in the major leagues worth so much to the Red Sox? First off, Boston fans having been searching for the missing piece of the puzzle to help the boys from Bean Town restore their glory of 2004, as the Sox were Champions of the world. The most important thing however, is that the Red Sox denied the Yankees of Matsuzaka, assuring their rightful place in baseball’s big spenders. The acquisition of Matsuzaka is hoped by all Red Sox Nation to drastically improve a pitching staff who last season, posted a dreadful ERA that ranked 24th in the Major leagues. Matsuzaka was 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA and 200 strikeouts this year in Japan for the Seibu Lions, impressing many major league scouts last March during the inaugural World Baseball Classic, where he was selected MVP after Japan won the title.

    With snagging of the Japanese phenom, the Boston Red Sox will establish themselves a foothold in the Far East Market, the birthplace of some of baseball’s brightest stars, in the objective of translating Japanese success to an America filled with opportunity. MLB superstars among the likes of the Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki and the Yankees’ Hideki Matsui have been able to make the transition and have flourished overseas. In Matsuzaka’s case, he must face tougher lineups than he ever saw in Japan. This gun from the Rising Sun, reminds baseball enthusiasts that this perfect sport we have mythologized as the American Pastime has never seemed so un-American.

    However, a significant amount of doubt has been lifted off the shoulders of Daisuke, as it is presumed he holds a pitch in his arsenal, a pitch so un-hittable, that it will transfigure the game of baseball—a game that has been taken over by hitting. A pitch known as the gyroball. The gyroball is baseball's version of alien life. No one knows if they've seen it. No one knows what it looks like. No one knows much about it. The concept of the gyroball was perfected in a supercomputer by two Japanese scientists named Ryutaro Himeno and Kazushi Tezuka. In simulations, they showed how a pitcher with good mechanics could throw the baseball in a way that it spun like a bullet – or, in sporting sense, like a perfect football spiral – and broke like nothing anyone has ever seen.

    Coming off a third-place finish in the American League East, the Red Sox are speaking softly and carrying a big, big checkbook. With a triumph in the Matsuzaka sweepstakes, the Red Sox will not only put fans in the stands but victories in the win column. Whether Matsuzaka is baseball’s next brightest start or its biggest bust is yet to be determined. However, the importing of the Asian-born pitcher is just one more reason to be excited about the 2007 MLB season.

    The acquisition of a single player rarely guarantees anything in baseball. Over 162 games, the more balanced teams rise to the top. The Red Sox front office still has much work to do in order to compete with the Yankees, but they may have just picked up an ace in Matsuzaka. On the other hand, if he is a flop, it may be the biggest waste of a fifty million dollar check in the history of competition. Either way, the fact that Matsuzaka won’t be wearing Yankee pinstripes on opening day will undoubtedly please Red Sox Nation, and that in itself may be worth every cent. And now, with a Red Sox contract seemingly in his immediate future, he will fulfill his childhood dream next season as a major league pitcher. Of course, the dream comes with a contract that has exceeded all expectations. It is the American dream -- made in Japan.
  2. shotglass

    shotglass Guest

    Matt, it's a good thing you're doing this. But the right place to post it is in the "Writers' Workshop" area. You'll get some good feedback there.
  3. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Maybe Moddy or Gutter could move it for him.
  4. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    you'll be overrun with advice on this. as a high schooler, take one piece of advice with you: it's Nov. 15.

    pick up your ap stylebook and look at dates, days, yada, yada, yada. also, make sure something is a proper noun before you push down your shift key.

    good luck.
  5. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    There's actually some pretty good writing in there, although begging the question: Why isn't a high school newspaper writer writing something about his high school?
  6. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    When I/we do workshop and panels, this is the first thing we tell the students.
    Make sure you have access. If you have access, quotes and experience in the environment makes the story so much more richer. And, that way, you're not telling someone something they already know.
    So, although the subject matter is nationally known, the practice won't improve the students' skills if the subjects are not available to the student for comment and background.

    Asking and formulating questions is the root of our profession.

    So, Matt, find someone you can interview. Work on presentation and formulation of questions. And read. Read some more. And, when you're tired, read.
  7. Screwball

    Screwball Active Member


    Your writing is very good, and you're already starting to develop a nice style that will become better with each story.

    But outstanding writing follows good reporting. You tell good stories because you go out and find them. You talk to people, ask questions, listen, observe.

    For instance, you say Matsuzaka is the best pitcher in the world. Based on what? Says who? Why should I believe you? You disguise your opinion as fact instead of backing it up with evidence.

    (If you're using Japanese league statistics as evidence, so what? How do we know that good statistics there necessarily translate into good statistics here? Check out the major league careers of Hideki Irabu or Nori Nakamura.)

    If you want to write about Matsuzaka for your school paper, you should. You're fortunate to live in one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Go ask the Japanese citizens of Toronto--maybe some of them are your classmates--what they think of Matsuzaka. Has anyone seen him pitch? What were their impressions? Are Japanese groups already buying tickets to Red Sox games in Toronto? Are the Blue Jays planning any outreach to this community?

    Good luck.
  8. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    I presume this is a column? Needs a tight edit and some adjustments for style, but there are some good turns of phrase and some promising construction. As others have noted, it's best to work on all the elements of the craft: interviewing, observing, checking stuff -- and coverage of something going on in your high school, which you can support with colour and quotes, is the way to develop all that.
  9. mattklar

    mattklar New Member

    thanks everyone
  10. ballscribe

    ballscribe Active Member

    "The gun from the Rising Sun" was kind of a bad cliché. But for some reason, I kind of liked it.
  11. mattklar

    mattklar New Member

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