To understand the answer to that question you would have to walk in his shoes. You would have to understand what real pressure is all about.
Before last night, Dice-K, plain and simple, was a failure.
Not in Greater Boston and New England, per se. In our neck of the woods, well, he was a disappointment. His respectable 15-12 record was OK.
We just saw too many sloppy games, some he had in hand, slip away for no apparent reason. An umpire makes a questionable call and two walks or a three-run homer were just around the corner.
The bigger pressure, the kind that can bring a person to his or her knees, came from the other side of the Pacific Ocean.
From Day 1, Japan wanted more. Believe it or not, more than even the ravenous fans who hold the Red Sox in too high regard.
Dice-K - he had a new nickname before he threw his first pitch in spring training - was the best Japan had ever produced, even better than Ichiro Suzuki, and well, he failed.
He brought with him five or six different pitches, including the "gyroball," which is some sort of crazy spinning changeup, and he was supposed make mincemeat of Major League Baseball's best of the best.
The first few starts he made, Japan virtually stopped ... I mean woke up at 4 a.m. ... to watch. The Japanese media contingent numbered somewhere between 50 and 75 the first month or so.
To compare to something foolish we here in the Boston area did, go back to the trade to re-acquire Doug Mirabelli in 2006. You remember the quick trade, the police escort from Logan Airport, and the changing on the run. We embarrassed ourselves making so much ado about nothing.
As much as people don't realize, especially when it comes to pro athletes and famous celebrities, Dice-K is a human being. Human beings need time to adapt to new surroundings and especially a new culture.
He needed time. In fact, he still needs time.
But sometimes you have to face your demons a little earlier than you're ready to and last night was Dice-K's night.
In three previous playoff games, he didn't pitch more than five innings in each. But his last start, in which he allowed two runs in five innings, in Game 7 against the Indians, did the job.
Last night was different. The Red Sox have the Rockies down and almost out. They had combined to score only two runs in two games.
Plus, it was the World Series.
Well, Dice-K was good. He allowed only three hits over 51/3-innings, but was charged with two runs when reliever Javier Lopez gave up two hits with two on (both runs were Dice-K's).
The Todd Helton at bat in the fifth inning last night was maybe his crowing glory, showing how far he has come in just a few starts.
With the count 3-and-2, Helton fouled off five straight pitches. If you didn't think something bad was going to eventually happen, you hadn't followed Dice-K this season.
Well, he surprised Helton with a "back-door" slider on the outside of the plate. Strike three.
He had another highlight, too, rapping an two-RBI single in the third inning, six-run rally. His hit (he looked pretty good at the plate in three appearances, hit, strikeout and hard groundout to first) put the Sox ahead, 5-0, and pretty much put the game away.
The point is Dice-K's best days are ahead of him. He has been a prodigy since his high school days and never disappointed, until now.
But these are extenuating circumstances.
With a World Series victory on his resume, that might mean the Red Sox best years are ahead, too.
That's good enough for Boston. Japan will have to figure that one out on its own.
Bill Burt is executive sports editor. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.