Japan Pitcher Sasaki Offers Sweet Apology to Czech Player He Hit with Pitch

Official Twitter account of Samurai Japan
Roki Sasaki, left, and William Escala pose together on Monday as Escala holds the gift of candy he received from the Japan pitcher.

The tradition of a pitcher tipping his cap in apology after hitting a batter is a well-known quirk of Japanese pro baseball. Japan national team hurler Roki Sasaki has gone far beyond that gesture.

After hitting the Czech Republic’s William Escala with a fastball in the fourth inning of their World Baseball Classic on Saturday night, Sasaki personally apologized and presented him with two bulging bags of candy on Monday.

A photo of the two — holding the bags of goodies — was later posted on the official Twitter account of the Japan team, known as Samurai Japan, and other social media.

The thoughtful gift only further cemented the goodwill felt by the Czech team during the tournament, in which it played in Pool B at Tokyo Dome.

Following the team’s loss to Australia on Monday, Czech manager Pavel Chadim wore a hachimaki headband bearing the rising sun and Japanese word “hissho” (certain victory) to the post-game press conference.

He said it was his way of expressing his gratitude for the support and kindness that Japan has shown his team.

Referring to Sasaki, Chadim said his action was “a heartwarming thing and it touched us.” He added, “I’d like to again thank the nation of Japan.”