The host of ESPN Radio’s “The Herd” was beside himself this morning, effusive in his praise of Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dice-K, promised Cowerd, is on the brink of stateside stardom ala Michael Jordan, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, etc., and if you suspect the hyperbole is a bit much for a guy that merely mowed down the Kansas City Royals, think again.

The key element to Matzusaka’s appeal, explained Cowherd, is that “he’s clean. He’s not been accused of anything. How many American athletes can you say that about?”

Oh yeah, and the pitcher is “mysterious….he’s from a different culture,” opined morning radio’s least-worldly commentator.

“He reminds me of Fernandomania,” mused Cowherd, “Schezchuan style!”

In contrast to Cowherd’s geographic confusion, Japan’s Minister Of Finance, Koji Omi, would like to see a bit less Dice-K on the idiot box. From the Mainichi Daily News.

Speaking on the topic of Matsuzaka’s first win in the major leagues, Omi said, “Considering the overall news balance, there’s a problem with taking up issues like this every morning on NHK’s 7 o’clock news.”

Omi, who made the comments following a Cabinet meeting on Friday, praised Matsuzaka’s performance overseas, saying, “It’s very good that people are becoming global, just like economy, and that good people are discovering new spheres.” However, he raised questions about the time NHK spent on its coverage.

“If NHK doesn’t start to spend a bit more time broadcasting what’s happening in the world, its significance as a public broadcaster will probably start to fade,” the minister said.

(UPDATE : incredibly, Cowherd’s comments about Matsuzaka weren’t the dumbest things he said this morning.)