Some serious anti-Daisuke Matsuzaka vitriol. But why do the Red Sox get a free pass?

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Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan has a column up today covering the life and times of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who may have thrown his last pitch for the Boston Red Sox.  Passan does not exactly sugarcoat things.

He says that, in Matsuzaka, the Red Sox expected an ace, but rather, “got an ACE: Another Chubby Easterner, Hideki Irabu 2.0, a disappointment, a waste of money. A bust.”  He says that, while Dice-K’s arm has been hurt, his middle finger seems to be just fine because he has raised it figuratively at the organization for years.  He goes on to quote sources, presumably with the Red Sox, who call Matsuzaka “stubborn,” “pigheaded” and “lazy”  and who says that the Sox are “tired of his act.” It’s a piece that needs to be read in its entirety to be appreciated.

Passan is certainly not out on an island with this criticism. I personally find nothing less enjoyable to watch in baseball than Dice-K when he’s nibbling, and a ton of Red Sox fans feel that way too.  Still, I think the stuff thrown at him over the years is overdone and disproportionate.

There are a lot of miserable-to-watch pitchers who failed to meet expectations.  How much of what we hear about Matsuzaka is fair and how much of it is the result of blowback from the Red Sox front office, embarrassed and angry at how monstrous a miscalculation they made in the first place?  Isn’t a player’s bad attitude and bad habits the kind of thing that should be evaluated before the check is cut?  In criticizing Matsuzaka for those shortcomings, shouldn’t we criticize Theo Epstein and his talent evaluators as well?

You always hear about how bad Dice-K is. And that’s fair as far as it goes. But you rarely hear the Red Sox criticized for their hundred million dollar blunder.  In this case, I think there’s room for a more evenhanded allocation of vitriol.

Autopsy report reveals morphine, Ambien in Roy Halladay’s system

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Traces of morphine, amphetamine, Prozac and Ambien were found in Roy Halladay’s system at the time of his death, according to the autopsy findings Zachary T. Sampson of the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday. The former Phillies and Blue Jays ace and two-time Cy Young Award winner was killed in a plane crash off the Gulf of Mexico last November. While the exact cause of the incident has not yet been determined, it was a combination of blunt force trauma and drowning that resulted in the 40-year-old’s death.

Further details from the NY Daily News revealed that Halladay sustained a fractured leg and a “subdural hemorrhage, multiple rib fractures, and lung, liver and spleen injuries” during the crash. As for the drugs present in his system, the autopsy report suggests that the presence of morphine could be linked to heroin use, though there’s no clear evidence that he did so.

The toxicology results also determined that Halladay had a blood-alcohol content level of 0.01. A BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit for operating a car, but current FAA regulations prohibit any alcohol consumption for eight hours before operating aircraft. Halladay was both the pilot and sole passenger aboard the plane when it crashed.

Previous statements from the National Transportation Safety Board indicate that the investigation is still ongoing and could take up to two years to resolve.