NEXT 2004 Kaz Matsui

Updated: December 7, 2006, 12:23 PM ET

The Yankee imperialists are here. So are the Met and Dodger and Oriole and Mariner and, of course, Nike imperialists. Some 8,000 miles from America, in a sterile domed stadium in Sapporo, they hunt for resources to exploit, gems to bring home. Here, at Asia's Olympic-qualifying tournament in early November, they find plenty on Japan's national team.

"Matsuzaka," says one major league scout, savoring the word like a rich piece of sashimi. "And he's their second-best pitcher."

"Fukudome," ...

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