A monster called DAISUKE MATSUZAKA, whose nickname in Japan translates to "The Monster." Garamon (right) would be frightened.
You already know the story: 17-inning complete game followed by a no-hitter in a prestigious high school baseball tournament before his 18th birthday; lengthy bullpen and throwing sessions that would make Americans swoon; World Baseball Classic MVP; object of interest for a claque of Japanese journalists large enough to invade a small principality.
The Royals have done all they can to accommodate the mania, including issuing 110 media credentials to the Japanese contingent (which needs a nickname... Monster Mash? Dice-Klatsch?) and 220 overall. Needless to say, Kansas City hasn't been swept in this kind of blaze of publicity since, well... I can't think of another time (maybe when the Royals won the World Series in '85... maybe). Now all we unassuming Midwesterners can do is brace for the invasion.
Of course, the monster best associated with the Land of the Rising Sun is Godzilla. So if Matsuzaka = Godzilla, does that make Zach Greinke the ultimately victorious (depending on which version you consult, I suppose) King Kong? I say yes. Don't tell anyone, but the hoi polloi are in for a BIG surprise...
Game begins at 1:10 p.m. CT.
POSTSCRIPT: Tom Verducci, absolutely the best baseball writer in America, answers questions about Dice-K here. He's also written the definitive English-language Daisuke Matsuzaka feature -- trust me -- which is also one of the best baseball features I've read this year.
UPDATE: "Nearly 250 credentials."