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TOKYO (AP) — Lars Nootbaar’s imaginary pepper-grinder was the speak of Globe Baseball Classic games in Japan, but the enjoyable-loving gesture by the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder does not seem welcome in Japan’s well known higher college baseball tournament.

When a player for Tohoku Higher College twisted his two fists with each other — imitating Nootbaar — right after obtaining on initial base Saturday, the umpire told him to cease.

Hiroshi Sato, manager for Tohoku Higher College, defended his player. Tohoku lost to Yamanashi Gakuin Senior Higher College three-1 at Koshien Stadium in Osaka.

“It’s so well known the entire nation is speaking about it,” Sato was quoted as saying in the nationally circulated Mainichi newspaper and other Japanese media.

“The youngsters are just getting enjoyable. Why do adults have to place a cease to it,” mentioned Sato, who played for Tokyo’s Yomiuri Giants.

“We ought to be considering extra about how youngsters can freely take pleasure in baseball.”

Higher college baseball tournaments are really well known in Japan. Important leaguers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Matsui got their commence in the tournament. San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish, who is on Japan’s group in the WBC, played for Tohoku.

Higher college baseball regulations have a tendency to curb expressions of feelings, such as creating a clenched fist right after scoring.

“We have generally asked higher college baseball to abstain from unnecessary performances and gestures. We realize the players’ feelings of wanting to have enjoyable, but the federation believes the enjoyable ought to come from the game,” the Japan Higher College Baseball Federation mentioned in a statement.

Taro Kono, who is in the cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, raised the situation of the strict guidelines on a Twitter post. Kono was a major candidate for prime minister when Kishida was selected late in 2021.

Nootbaar’s pepper-grinder imitation was a hit in Japan’s 5 games at the Tokyo Dome, with tv cameras frequently focusing on Nootbaar’s teammates creating the gesture, or his mother Kumiko as she watched from the stands.

Nootbaar was born in California and is the initial to play for Japan’s national baseball group by virtue of ancestry. His mother is Japanese.


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Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter

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