Stephen A. Smith was so eager to fawn over Daisuke Matsuzaka’s appearance at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia yesterday (above) that he managed to ignore and overlook a player who so happened to win the NL MVP Award in 2006 while commanding the attention and admiration of both sports media and baseball fans worldwide last season. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

You didn’t have to see Boston’s new Asian sensation pitch against the Phillies yesterday to know exactly what Beantown is lavishing in and what Philadelphia is sorely lacking. All anyone had to do was take a peek into the stands and the press box inside Citizens Bank Park yesterday to know exactly why the Red Sox doled out about $103 million to get the latest Godzilla import.

“He’s the real deal. Trust me,” Boston’s Big Papi, David Ortiz, said after the game yesterday. “Whatever it is, he’s got it.”

We can only pray the Phillies will have someone like this someday because they certainly don’t have him now.

The World Series has ignored Philadelphia since 1993, which would explain the media’s occasional jealousy, because of their inability to do the same. But everyone was paying attention on this Saturday afternoon. Matsuzaka was in the house, along with a plethora of Asian journalists recording his every move. And if there was an empty seat in the ballpark, blame it on the folks who preferred watching the action from the concession area – with no need for an interpreter.

The ballpark wasn’t packed to watch Ryan Howard or Chase Utley any more than the fans were in attendance to see who would be singing the national anthem. They came to see Matsuzaka pitch in a major-league ballpark for the first time and watch the tentacles of a nation following in line.

Matsuzaka represents the arrival of a new time, a new era and vibrant expectations. The Red Sox made that happen by getting him to Boston.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Phillies watch while stuff like this happens.

Supposedly, we’re big-time like everybody else. Huh!