Superstar Otani Shohei (29, LA Angels) of the Japanese baseball team’s ‘Putting (投打)’ Superstar Pepper started to grind
Japan defeated Italy 9-3 in the quarterfinals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 16th and advanced to the semifinals.
Starting with winning the first WBC held in 2006, Japan has been showing off its appearance as a ‘baseball powerhouse’ by reaching at least the top 4 in every tournament. We are aiming for our 3rd overall win in this tournament.
At the center of the Japanese national team, which shows hot momentum, is the ‘Pepper Grinder’ ceremony.
‘Pepper Grinder’ spread by Japanese-American Nutba
Lars Nuthba (26, St. Louis Cardinals) is the son of Gumi Enokida, an immigrant from Japan, and Charlie Nuthba, an American father. Although he is Japanese-American, he wore a Japanese uniform thanks to a WBC rule that the country of origin of one of his parents could determine where he was from. It is the first time since the first WBC in 2006 that a non-Japanese player has been on the Japanese baseball team.
Boasting a strong physique (190cm, 95kg), Nutba participated in all 5 games played by Japan in this tournament and is active with a batting average of 0.368 (7 hits in 19 at-bats), 3 RBIs and 2 steals. At the same time, he is gathering topics with the so-called ‘pepper grinder’ ceremony, which seems to grind his two fists up and down whenever he hits, walks on base, or raises an RBI.
It is known that Nutba is difficult to communicate in Japanese. Then, he spread the unique ceremony he learned while playing in MLB (American Professional Baseball) to melt into the team and get along with his teammates. Japanese players also actively accepted this ceremony as a welcome to Nutba, a Japanese-American. And it has become a symbol of the Japanese national team. 메이저사이트
This ceremony, in which the action of squeezing and grinding pepper with both fists is repeated, is what Nutba’s original team, the Cardinals, do when they score a run or hit a home run.
It is said that this ceremony was started by the Cardinals from last season to encourage each other on and off the field and seek team unity with the meanings of “Let’s change our skills and win,” “Let’s be patient,” and “Let’s be steady.” The English word ‘grind’ has the same meaning as ‘to work laboriously’ as well as ‘going to something’. Nutba, who ground pepper countless times in his team, spread it to the Japanese national team as well.
Japan united by pepper…Otani also grinds pepper
The pepper grinder ceremony became highly contagious among Japanese players.
This is because not only other players, but also Ohtani, who received the American League (AL) MVP unanimously in the 2021 MLB season by digesting the double job, which was considered impossible in modern baseball, began to grind pepper.
On the 6th, during a practice game against the Hanshin Tigers of NPB (Japanese Professional Baseball), Ohtani drew attention by performing a pepper grinder ceremony after hitting a three-run home run in a row. Then, in the WBC Group B group stage match against Korea, etc., he made a hit and repeated this ceremony.
Japanese fans who pay attention to Ohtani’s every single action are enthusiastic. Nutba was proud, saying, “I heard that the purchase of pepper grinders has increased (in Japan) recently.”
In fact, in the Tokyo Dome spectators, where Japan played until the quarterfinals, fans could be seen grinding pepper with Japanese players whenever they went on base. It is said that on match days in Japan, pepper is ground a lot in various bars. Among MLB Cardinals fans, “Nutba taught Ohtani how to grind pepper, and Ohtani also started grinding pepper. There is also a joke saying, “He will come to our team soon.”
Could it be thanks to the pepper grinder ceremony? Ohtani was selected as the Group B MVP (Most Valuable Player) in the group stage, and also started and fought well in the quarterfinal match against Italy, leading Japan to the semifinals.
Japan is now headed to America with a pepper grinder. This is because the semifinals and finals will be held in Miami, Florida, USA.
Japan will face Mexico on the 21st for a ticket to the final. It remains to be seen how many more peppers will be ground.