ESPN Magazine's Anna Katherine Commons has written an article on Matt Murton. It's an interesting read. Here's a snip that's been making the rounds in the Japanese media:
Murton equated Japanese baseball to AAAA, if such a level existed, and said that many of the pitchers he faced are of major-league caliber. Indeed, several major league players have spent time in Japan, such as current free agent Gabe Kapler, who, after winning a World Series with the Red Sox in 2004, signed with Japan's Yomiuri Giants (also the former team of A's outfielder Hideki Matsui) in 2005.
Still, Murton loved the Japanese baseball environs and said his strong performances were inspired, in part, by the dedicated fans. Playing in front of 50,000 cheering people, he said, offered a different kind of inspiration than Triple-A baseball in the U.S., which may entertain a game crowd of 8,000 or 9,000 and, for many players, is about working individually toward earning a spot in the majors rather than the collective competition.
"They love the game of baseball there," Murton said of Japan. "It goes back to the late 1800s, when an English professor introduced the game. Even though it's our national past time in the U.S., it really embodies a lot of what Japanese culture stands for, like giving yourself for the good of the team."