How Lars Nootbaar — and his celebration — became a sensation for Japan in World Baseball Classic

Lars Nootbaar has become an unlikely sensation in Japan after his spirited celebration during the World Baseball Classic game against the Dominican Republic. Nootbaar’s performance, coupled with the enthusiastic celebration, has endeared him to Japanese fans, making him a household name in the country.

Nootbaar, a 23-year-old outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization, was one of the key players for the United States team in the international tournament. During their match against the Dominican Republic, Nootbaar hit a two-run home run that gave the USA team a 3-1 lead in the third inning.

The real excitement, however, came when Nootbaar returned to the dugout. He celebrated his home run by leaping into the air, pumping his fist, and screaming. The celebration was so energetic that it caused his helmet to fly off and nearly hit his teammate, Todd Frazier.

Nootbaar’s exuberance drew comparisons to the famous celebrations of Japanese players, who often perform elaborate routines after hitting a home run. Japanese fans have long admired this tradition, known as “yakyuu o Tanoshimu” or “enjoying baseball.”

The video of Nootbaar’s celebration quickly went viral in Japan, and he became an instant fan favorite. His performance has even led to a surge of interest in Miyazaki, the Japanese city where the USA team was training and playing.

After the game, Nootbaar seemed to be enjoying his newfound fame, telling reporters that he loved the atmosphere of Japanese baseball and that he was thrilled to be a part of the World Baseball Classic.

It remains to be seen if Nootbaar’s popularity in Japan will continue, but his performance and celebratory antics have certainly captured the attention of Japanese baseball fans. His energy and enthusiasm have helped to bridge the gap between the USA and Japan, showcasing the shared love of baseball that unites people from all walks of life.

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