2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) Superstar Otani Shohei (29‧ LA Angels) of the Japanese team is infesting the archipelago. Ohtani, who shook baseball in the 21st century with both pitching and hitting, fans are enthusiastic just by wearing the Japanese flag.
On the 6th and 7th at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan, baseball fever was hotter than the regular season. This is because the Korean and Japanese WBC national teams had an evaluation match with the Japanese clubs in turn. There were not many spectators at the Korean game that started at noon. Instead, a huge crowd gathered outside Kyocera Dome.
It was to buy souvenirs for the Japanese baseball team. Fans started to line up at 9:00 am, and soon it became longer than 200m. Eventually, a security guard came out and controlled the waiting line. Dozens of people were allowed to shop near the souvenir stand, and a long line was built behind them.
It was like a luxury department store. In the store, fans were encouraged to choose items safely, so there was no choice but to have a long line outside. They turned on the lights and found Ohtani’s goods. An official said, “All Ohtani-related products were sold out within an hour of opening.” 메이저놀이터
Ohtani’s popularity and status in the Japanese national team, which is composed of major league (MLB) players and homegrown stars, is ‘over the top’. When he moved from the US camp to Japan on the 1st, the cost of the charter he rode was 10 million yen (about 100 million won).
The Japanese national team’s evaluation match starts at 6:00 pm, and fans have gathered from the morning. Signs were posted all over the stadium that read, “On-site tickets are sold out.” Fans exclaimed when Ohtani entered during training before the game. Every time he finished his short interval batting practice, he clapped hard.
On the 6th, Ohtani made an amazing ‘showtime’ in the evaluation match against the Hanshin Tigers. After striking out in the first at-bat in the first inning, he hit a come-from-behind three-run from Hanshin starter Hiroto Saiki in the third inning. It was a stunt to scoop up a falling forkball while kneeling on the right knee.
In the 5th inning, leading 4-1, Ohtani caught a fastball from left-handed pitcher Ren Tomita and hit a solo shot in mid-month. Kyocera Dome was covered with cheers from fans. Ohtani expressed his feelings through the WBC secretariat, saying, “Because of the jet lag, I was worried that my condition was not 100% and I could hit properly, but fortunately, he had a good swing.” Humble comments and amazing performances showed what kind of monster he is.