Lars Nuthba (St. Louis) was the fixed number one hitter of the Japanese WBC national team. In Japanese baseball, which has a strong perception of being closed, it was unconventional to entrust the heavy responsibility to an outsider, and even to a player who was still only a promising player in the major leagues. Nutba responded with skill, recording an on-base percentage of 0.424.
On the 22nd (Korean time), Japan defeated the United States 3-2 and rose to the top of the WBC for the third time in 14 years since 2009. Nutba went 4 at-bats without a hit, but recorded the final with an RBI that reversed in the 2nd inning. The tournament batting average was 0.269 and the on-base percentage was 0.424.스포츠토토
After the finals, I hugged all the members of the national team one by one and put the past three weeks in my heart. It seems that Japanese baseball fans were also very moved by Nutba’s passion. Messages of support such as “I will not forget Nutba’s play and his soulful play”, “We couldn’t win the championship without Nutba” and “Let’s meet again in 3 years” were poured out on social media.
In January, when it was decided to join the Japanese national team, Nutba said, “I am a ‘zero tool player’. I just do my best on the field. I want to be the best player. I hope the Japanese national team will accept me as a teammate.” In addition, he said, “I want to become a player who raises the atmosphere of the team,” and looked forward to harmony with his colleagues beyond participating in the WBC.
It was not welcomed by everyone. He showed potential, but it was not at the level of hitting his potential with a batting average of 0.228 and an on-base percentage of 0.340. For this reason, among Japanese baseball players, there were some who were opposed to Nutba’s selection. Takahashi Hisanori, who participated as a Doosan instructor, made disparaging remarks on his personal YouTube broadcast, calling it a “show selection” (and apologized to Nutba during the group stage).
But the players didn’t. I prepared properly from the first meeting. I made a nickname ‘Tatsuji’ from Nutba’s middle name ‘Tatsuji’ and wore a group T-shirt with a meaning of welcome.
He also showed leadership skills before the game. He took on the role he expected before joining the national team, raising his morale in front of the players. It also became the team representative in important matches such as the Korea-Japan match on the 10th and the quarterfinal match on the 16th. Short speeches always ended with “Let’s work hard!”