I had a plan for this morning. I was going to write a blog post about the meaning of a Yankees-Red Sox series. Something about how different the Red Sox look these days, how the American League East stopped being a two-team race years ago, how this series maintains its excitement despite logically realizing the previous series in Tampa Bay — or even a three-game series against the Orioles — should be more meaningful right about now.
Our good friend David Waldstein wrote a terrific piece in the New York Times about the childhood training of Hiroki Kuroda.
“In order to play, you had to survive,” Kuroda said. “We were trained to build an immune system so that we could survive and play.”
It’s an unreal story of punishment and dedication, a life that Kuroda seems to resent but also accept as a part of what got him here.
Tonight, Kuroda starts the series opener for the Yankees. He’s been terrific, pitching beyond what the Yankees could have expected when they gave him a one-year, $10 million deal. They signed a steady, veteran. For two-plus months, they’ve had a legitimate ace.
Waldstein’s story gives a glimpse at what Kuroda endured to become this sort of pitcher. Sometime before he gets on the mound tonight, give that story a read. Great stuff.
Associated Press photo