NEXT: Kaz Matsui

Kazuo Matsui leads a third wave of Japanese exports to America. Asia is NEXT. And now is the time to tell you why.

Originally Published: December 9, 2003
By Luke Cyphers | ESPN The Magazine
The Yankee imperialists are here. So are the Met and Dodger and Oriole and Mariner and, of course, Nike imperialists. Some 8,000 miles from America, in a sterile domed stadium in Sapporo, they hunt for resources to exploit, gems to bring home. Here, at Asia's Olympic-qualifying tournament in early November, they find plenty on Japan's national team.

"Matsuzaka," says one major league scout, savoring the word like a rich piece of sashimi. "And he's their second-best pitcher."
Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.