Nippon Professional Baseball’s most popular franchise, the Hanshin Tigers, have won their first Central League title in 18 years.
Hanshin won a 4-3 home game against Yomiuri on Thursday at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. With the win, Hanshin, who have retired their magic number one jersey, improved to 80 wins, four draws and 44 losses on the season, and regained the top spot in the Central League for the first time in 18 years, since 2005.
Veteran manager Akinobu Okada, 65, who led Hanshin to the 2005 title after coaching the club from 2004 to 2008, returned to the “championship club” this year in a Hanshin uniform.
Hanshin is headed directly to the final stage of the climactic series, where it will face the winner of the first stage, which pits the league’s second- and third-place teams, for a spot in the Nippon Series. In Nippon Professional Baseball, the league title is more important than the postseason.먹튀검증
Hanshin won the Central League title for the fifth time in 2005, and a win in the climactic series would give them their sixth title. The last time Hanshin won the Japan Series was in 1985.
Hanshin is also the most popular team in terms of attendance, leading all 12 teams in Japan’s two major leagues with a season total of 2,617,114 fans and an average attendance of 48,892 per game.
Fearing that Hanshin’s victory could lead to accidents at Dotonbori, which is once again overcrowded, Japanese police sent a notice to foreign diplomatic missions, including the Korean Consulate General in Osaka, asking tourists to refrain from visiting Dotonbori from Dec. 12-17.