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“He does everything a team needs”: Shohei Ohtani, the best player of the moment who led Japan to the World Baseball Classic title

Shohei Ohtani against Mike Trout, the World Baseball Classic was defined with the two great figures of the sport facing each other. The Japanese on the mound, the American at bat. And the eastern fortress prevailed to give Japan the third title in its history at the home of the last champion. Japan is three-time Clásico champions after beating local United States 3-2 in Miami.

The Japanese had already won the first two editions of the World Cup in 2006 and 2009, both also on US soil: San Diego and Los Angeles. Then they had to settle for third place in the 2013 and 2017 editions, the latter with a defeat against the North Americans in the semifinals.

And Japan wins it with pure symbolism. In the top of the ninth inning the game was defined with an Ohtani leaving Trout without a chance to hit. Teammates in the Los Angels of the Major Leagues, they faced each other to define the great world title.

In front of 36,000 people at LoanDepot Park in Miami, and more than a million viewers around the world who paid to see the entire tournament, Japan demonstrated why it is the leader in the ranking, why it has made baseball its national sport, why that every time you bet on a sport, you do it big.

At 28, he is the phenomenon of the moment. Shohei Ohtani is the sample of the new profile of the Japanese. He is the Messi of the moment, the successor to Babe Ruth, one of the greatest that the sport of diamonds has seen.

“Japan have the player who has implanted too much talent, with so many skills. He is a super ball player. He throws the same, hits the same. He does everything, runs, hits, pitches well, hits home runs, everything a team needs,” Ricardo Miranda, head of the technical unit of the Peruvian Baseball Federation, tells us about the 28-year-old Japanese player.

Meanwhile, for Susumu Yoza, captain of the Peruvian team, “the level of baseball has changed. Before the technique was different, now the Japanese is trying to implement more things from the United States. Before, the Japanese were thin, short in stature. Now a clear example is Ohtani, who at first glance seems North American ”, he tells us.

Shohei’s 1.93 meters prevails on the field. His 95 kilos give him the power for his right-handed hits and left-footed pitches. He reaches 10 years playing at a professional level and he does it in a big way.

The great preparation has made Japan a powerhouse. “Before him he had difficulties, the runners doubled him between the bases, because they did not throw to kill home plate because the Japanese threw to the cut. Now they have better arms”, explains Miranda.

One of the rules that was imposed in Japan to strengthen its league was not to let local talents go so quickly. “In Latin America, if a 17-year-old player is already signed, he goes to the Major Leagues. They have to play there until they are 22 and then the Major Leagues attract them”, explains Miranda.

Precisely, Ohtani left Japanese baseball only in 2017, already at the age of 23, after shining with the Nippon-Ham Fighters and signing the Los Angels of the MLB. He could not compete in the 2017 World Classic, but now he said in style, to win it his style.

Source: Elcomercio

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