Daisuke Matsuzaka surprised by Ichiro during retirement ceremony
Daisuke Matsuzaka ended an illustrious 23-year professional pitching career during a ceremony at Seibu's MetLife Dome in Tokorozawa, Japan on Saturday, and one attendant in particular brought the right-hander to tears.
A video message from Ichiro Suzuki was shown on the jumbotron honoring Matsuzaka and was followed by a surprise appearance by the former Seattle Mariners outfielder.
"I hadn't imagined this. It was crazy," Matsuzaka said, according to The Kyodo News. "At first, I was able to hold up, and then the tears came and I was done for.
"I was surprised and just overjoyed that, at the end, Ichiro-san came to see me. I'm happy I was able to come so far."
While Matsuzaka and Ichiro had to settle for only being rivals stateside, they did both represent Japan during the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic. Japan won the championship both those years, with Matsuzaka being named tournament MVP both times.
The 41-year-old played eight seasons in Major League Baseball, including six with the Boston Red Sox and a pair with the New York Mets. Matsuzaka returned to Japan following the 2014 season, ending his MLB career with a 56-43 record, 4.45 ERA, and 4.35 FIP over 790 1/3 innings while making 132 starts and 26 relief appearances. He also helped the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2007 as a rookie.