For 20 years, the contingent of Japanese media assigned to cover Hideki Matsui has presented the slugger with a cake on his birthday.
Tuesday was no different as the former World Series MVP celebrated his 38th birthday before Tampa Bay's series opener against the Mets.
The cake -- which featured a Rays hat and a baseball sitting on a ballfield made of icing -- later appeared in the Tropicana Field pressbox with a sign reading: "Hideki's birthday cake. Let's try!! From Japanese Media."
In addition to the cake, Matsui received a birthday greeting from 81-year-old Don Zimmer and a slot in the starting lineup courtesy of Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Tweeted the skipper:
Matsui is in there tonight. It's his birthday. Sometimes you have to look beyond the stats and go with the birthday theory.— Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon) June 12, 2012
-- J.B. Long