Is This Man the Next Dice-K?

Yu Darvish may be headed to the US sooner than thought
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2008 12:52 PM CDT
Nippon Ham Fighters starter Yu Darvish delivers a pitch against the Chunichi Dragons in the third inning of Game 5 at the Japan Series baseball at Nagoya Dome Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007.    (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)
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(Newser) – Japan's best pitcher is a towering 21-year-old named Yu Darvish, and the biggest question about his career is not if he will come to the US, but when, writes ESPN. With Japanese baseball strides ahead of the American institution in terms of commercialism, his team may well offer him up before his free agency—but is that good for Japan?

Darvish is more than a pitcher: he's a rock star, married to an actress, and sells out the magazines he appears in as well as his home stadium. But if he ends up as part of the exodus toward the big leagues, says Darvish's team manager Bobby Valentine, it's "like going into the Amazon and cutting down their forests without replacing the trees."