“A tournament that Japan and Cuba will not participate in…” Was Japan originally unenthusiastic about the WBC? An interpreter talks about “until it becomes the true baseball world’s best match” – Samurai Japan | Professional Baseball – Number Web

The 2023 WBC (World Baseball Classic), in which Japan won a fierce battle with the United States and won the championship for the third time in three tournaments. Mr. Katsunori Kojima, who has been involved in the WBC for four consecutive tournaments as a professional baseball interpreter, how did he feel about the unprecedented excitement of this tournament? With unknown episodes from the “dawn of WBC”, NumberWeb traces the origins and transitions of the tournament. (To Part 1/Part 2 of all 2 episodes)

2023 WBC Finals.

Yu Darvish, who pitched in the 8th inning, shuddered, saying, “This is going to be the final inning!”

Shohei Ohtani will be the closer on the mound in the ninth inning, while the third hitter will be three-time MVP Mike Trout. The last piece necessary for Japan to win the WBC championship was filled with the greatest matchup that will forever be engraved in baseball history.

Then came that ending.

Having supported the WBC for four consecutive tournaments as an interpreter, I have never been more excited and moved than at this tournament. To be honest, I’m currently a WBC loss (laughs), but I would like to take this opportunity to write about “another WBC” from the perspective of an interpreter.

Japan was initially reluctant to join the WBC

The first time I heard about the WBC concept was in Detroit, where the MLB All-Star Game was held in July 2005. Prior to the home run race, MLB and the MLB Players Association held a press conference to announce the outline of the international tournament, which promoted the globalization of baseball.

It’s hard to believe now, but at the time, Japan, which was showing resistance to the inequality of distributions, actively participated in the WBC along with Cuba, which was before the normalization of diplomatic relations with the United States. I didn’t take a stance. I remember thinking, “I wonder if a tournament without Japan and Cuba participating would be exciting?” The final was Japan vs Cuba).

2005 is the year the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles were born to replace the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes. Until November of the previous year, I was aiming to enter the baseball world as the GM of Livedoor, and after that, I was in a mental state like burnout for about half a year. At that time, when I heard about the WBC concept, what crossed my mind was the passion of Mr. Eiichiro Yamamoto (1997 Baseball Hall of Famer), who worked hard to make the world’s best baseball match ahead of the MLB.

【Next page】 “This atmosphere is the best!” An unforgettable summer in Atlanta


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