Overseas Media Heap Praise on Japan’s WBC Victory

Japan’s Shohei Ohtani celebrates after a double during the ninth inning of a World Baseball Classic game against Mexico, Monday,in Miami.

Overseas media outlets have heaped praised on the Samurai Japan players for their triumph at the World Baseball Classic.

In the United States, whose team Japan edged 3-2 in the final, many column inches were spent on the dramatic match-up — with two outs and a close score in the bottom of the ninth inning — between Japanese pitcher Shohei Ohtani and his Los Angeles Angels teammate Mike Trout. Ohtani struck out Trout to seal the victory.

In a story published online, Fox Sports said the dream finale — Ohtani pitching to Trout with the title on the line — gave the tournament “the magical ending that it deserved.” The author added, “I didn’t think I could love [baseball] any more than I did!” A column in USA Today gushed that “the legend of Ohtani just added another chapter.”

Many U.S. media reports marveled at the superb performances of the Japanese pitchers, with Ohtani and Roki Sasaki among the hurlers receiving plaudits.

Under a headline declaring that Japan’s first WBC title in 14 years had electrified the nation, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported that many excited fans had cheered for Samurai Japan from their workplaces, train stations and other venues. The online edition of the Sports Seoul newspaper saluted Ohtani as the “most perfect player in the history of baseball,” and the Ilgan Sports daily declared the WBC had been a tournament that had both started and ended and Ohtani.

The Mexican team, which Japan defeated in the semifinal, tweeted a congratulatory message written in Japanese — complete with a Hinomaru national flag emoji — to the WBC champions. A sports commentator from the Czech Republic, which lost to Samurai Japan in pool play, said it had been an honor to play against the “greatest team.”