Different Sports activities: Banners, lights as Japan hails MVP award for baseballer Ohtani

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TOKYO (Reuters) – From the prime minister to folks on the street, Japan on Friday celebrated Shohei Ohtani profitable considered one of U.S. baseball’s prime awards with pleasure, banners and newspaper extras full of pleasure on the achievement of considered one of their very own.

Ohtani, 27, with the Los Angeles Angels, gained the Most Beneficial Participant (MVP) award for Main League Baseball’s American League, turning into solely the second Japanese participant after Ichiro Suzuki, then with the Seattle Mariners, did so in 2001.

“I am proud. He labored laborious and confirmed Japanese presence,” stated Minoru Tanaka, 68 and a part-time employee.

Others had been much more enthusiastic.

“I am merely comfortable, I believe it is superb,” stated workplace employee Chihiro Nakamura, 36. “I need to preserve cheering him on.”

Newspapers handed out extras and the long-lasting Tokyo Tower was set to be illuminated within the Angels’ colors with a congratulatory message at precisely 17:17, or 5:17 p.m., to match Ohtani’s jersey quantity.

Metropolis corridor employees in Ohtani’s hometown of Oshu, in rural northeastern Japan, gathered in Angels jerseys, cheering and clapping. Later, banners proclaiming the win had been hung from metropolis corridor.

Even Prime Minister Fumio Kishida joined, telling reporters: “It is a rare accomplishment and as a Japanese citizen, I really feel very proud.”

Ohtani’s recognition stems from each his athletic means and his character, which mixes quiet energy and the humbleness Japan respects most in its heroes, stated Hirotaka Matsuoka, a sports activities advertising and marketing professor at Tokyo’s Waseda College.

“Ohtani is earnest and humble, so even when he does not say something he is interesting – and he appeals to males, girls, younger and previous,” he added.

Although Suzuki was well-liked, Ohtani goes one higher, stated Robert Whiting, the creator of a number of books on Japanese baseball.

“He provides Japan a sure standing in MLB it has by no means had earlier than …,” he stated in remarks made to Reuters earlier than the award announcement. “Some individuals are calling him the very best baseball participant they’ve ever seen.”

Shares in sporting items agency Asics rose, whereas Zett Corp, a little-known sports activities firm whose share value soared in July when Ohtani appeared within the All-Star sport, fell after an preliminary spike simply after the information got here out.

Although baseball has misplaced floor to soccer in Japan in recent times, Ohtani’s MVP is more likely to encourage extra to play the sport – and extra to observe, giving Japanese skilled baseball a lift, Matsuoka stated.

“In any case, who is aware of once you would possibly be capable of see the following Ohtani in a sport proper right here?” he stated.

(Extra reporting by Daiki Iga, Rocky Swift and Akiko Okamoto; Enhancing by Michael Perry)



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