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Red Sox put big money on <nobr>'Dice K'</nobr>

KAI RYSSDAL:They're two years away from their World Series win, but the Boston Red Sox made it plain today they plan to get back to the top. This afternoon the club signed Japanese pitching sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka for a reported $52 million. That after paying his Japanese club 51 million just for negotiating rights. Curt Nickisch reports from WBUR — businesses in Boston think it's money well spent.


CURT NICKISCH: Trying to catch a glimpse of the man they've already nicknamed "Dice-K", fans lined up outside Fenway Park today. Robert Chin says until now, Boston's Asian-American baseball fans have been split. Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui has played for archrival New York for the past four years.
ROBERT CHIN: Because the Japanese were rooting for the Yankees, because of Matsui. Now we have someone to root for now in Boston, for the Boston Red Sox, which is Matsuzaka! So we're very excited.

So's the tourism industry here to reel in far-flung fans. Maury Brown edits BizOfBaseball.com. He says Boston hopes to repeat Seattle's home run in Japanese tourism after the Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki.

MAURY BROWN: At one point roughly $22 million annually were coming in simply as a by-product of Ichiro coming to the Mariners. Those revenues are, I mean that's a huge amount of money.

But officials here expect Matsuzaka to do even better. They're thinking he'll attract 20,000 extra tourists to Boston a year, generating $75 million in additional spending. So while the Red Sox shelling out more than 100 million for the ace pitcher might be a big gamble on the playing field, Boston businesses are betting on a good roll of the dice.

In Boston, I'm Curt Nickisch, for Marketplace.

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