Japan rejoices at becoming WBC champion

Japanese baseball fans were jubilant Tuesday after Japan became the champion of the inaugural World Baseball Classic with a 10-6 victory over three-time Olympic champion Cuba in the final.

News photo
Baseball fans decked out in local uniforms cheer on Team Japan from a Tokyo
sports bar during the final game of the World Baseball Classic.

“I could hardly sleep from the beginning of Japan’s campaign. I’m happy to be Japanese,” said Atsushi Ishida, a 31-year-old graduate student, at a sports bar in the city of Fukuoka, the home field of Softbank Hawks whose manager Sadaharu Oh led the Japan squad for the WBC.

About 80 fans gathered at the bar wearing uniforms of Softbank Hawks and hugged each other when the last Cuban batter went down on strikes.

In a sports bar in Tokyo’s Ebisu area, more than 100 people gathered to watch the game.

Yozo Suzuki, a 39-year-old company employee from Yokohama, said, “I thought that Japanese baseball would become unpopular when Japan lost to South Korea twice. I’m glad that Japan was able to win the title in the end.”

At the Seibu Invoice Dome in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, where the Yomiuri Giants were playing the Seibu Lions, the crowd cheered as Japan’s victory was announced.

Haruo Kikuchi, 46, from Kanagawa Prefecture, looked delighted and said he hopes the next WBC comes back to Japan.

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