Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

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I am not a baseball fan, but my husband is. In light of what happened this past weekend, I figured I would write a post about the local team. Last weekend, the Nippon Ham Fighters ace, Shohei Otani, announced that he was leaving the Japanese league and was hoping to play in the MLB.

For those of you who are big baseball fans, he will be a treat to watch if he can make it. Otani is one of those rare players who is both good at hitting and pitching. I really hope for his sake that he can have a long career in the major leagues.

Unfortunately this year, he hasn’t been productive as his injuries have kept him from playing. Last year, he was instrumental in the team winning the Japanese series, when he recorded the fastest pitch in the Japanese league at 165km per hour. Otani even hit a couple of home runs during the series.

After the championship win, Sapporo had a parade for the champions that spanned the length of Odori and into Susukino. On a very cold and blustery November day, I and a whole bunch of friends showed up to support the team. It was quite exciting to be part of the crowd.

Unfortunately, though, this year hasn’t been good to the Fighters. They finished second to last in the Pacific League. What strikes me as really sad was the fact that they had won the championship last year and they couldn’t even compete this year. I guess the loss of so many key players hurt the team, but still.

Anyway, I hope next year the team will recover from losing Otani. We have a new slugger who has been hyped up by the media. Hopefully, his presence can inject some needed juice into this sluggish team.

 

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