The Japanese boy’s dream of “I want to play for the national team of my home country Japan someday” became a reality.
The 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team list announced by Japan also includes the name of one Japanese player. The main character is Lars Nuthba (26), an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Born to a Dutch-American father and a Japanese mother, Nutba remains the first major Japanese player to play for the Japanese national team. Coincidentally, as Nutba’s St. Louis teammate 바카라, Korean infielder Tommy Edman (28), was also selected for the Korean national team, the confrontation between the two players is also attracting attention.
Nutba debuted on the major league stage in St. Louis in 2021, appeared in 58 games and left a batting average of .239 with 5 homers and 15 RBIs, and last year played in 108 games with a batting average of .228, 14 homers and 40 RBIs. As a right-handed and left-handed outfielder, he can play all outfield positions.
Japanese fans are already showing great expectations for Nutba’s joining. In particular, the reaction is getting hotter as a video in which Nutba said, “I want to play for the Japanese national team” was released as a child. The video released on the 3rd (Korean time) by ‘Bali Sports’ of the United States through the official SNS contains an interview scene with ‘9-year-old boy’ Nutba, who said, “I am Japanese. I want to play for the national team of my home country Japan someday.” .
Japanese fans who saw this are not holding back their enthusiastic support for Nutba. On this day, Japanese media ‘The Answer’ said, “When Nutba’s 9-year-old video was released through the American media, Japanese fans showed thrilling reactions such as ‘Dreams come true’ and ‘I can’t help but cheer’.”
When Nutba was a 9-year-old boy, it was 2007, the year after Japan won the first WBC championship. And now, 16 years later, Nutba has achieved his dream of becoming the Japanese national team according to his wish.
Japan succeeded in building a big league outfield by joining major leaguers Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs) and Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox) along with Nutba. Nutba has formidable punching power, having hit 14 homers in the major leagues last year, and is considered a player to be thoroughly wary of in Korea, which belongs to Group B in the first round along with Japan.
Meanwhile, the 2023 WBC Round 1 Group B match, organized by Korea and Japan, as well as China, Australia and the Czech Republic, will be held as a full league at Tokyo Dome, Japan from the 9th to the 13th of next month, and the 1st and 2nd places in the group will advance to the 2nd round.