“A fastball that ignores gravity…”Prove Japan Is the Best in the World” 65.3 Billion Hits, Orix Thanks’s Goodbye

On the 28th, Orix released a “thank you post” for Yamamoto on its website and SNS. The message “thank you for the 14,4770” was designed with a mosaic art depicting Yamamoto smiling in an Orix hat. The 14,470 pitches total over the past seven years, including both the regular and post seasons. 스포츠토토

Orix also delivered an additional farewell message. “A fastball that ignored gravity, a magical breaking ball, and a control that made me laugh. 14,470, which he threw at the Buffaloes. Thank you for all that. Frankly, I am very sad and will miss it. I hope he doesn’t leave, but I also want to see Yamamoto playing in the U.S.,” he said.

Lastly, he wished the success of Yamamoto in the Major League, saying, “Go, Yamamoto. Please prove that the best in Japan is the best in the world beyond our reach.” The poster will be displayed inside the Kyocera Dome, the home of Orix.

On the 28th, Yamamoto signed a contract with the Dodgers for a 12-year total of 325 million dollars, the longest period and the highest amount in Major League Baseball’s pitcher history. Thanks to Yamamoto, Orix collected a huge amount of 50.625 million dollars (about 65.3 billion won) for posting. According to Japan’s Sports Hochi, Orix will use the amount to expand its training facilities and fan service, including the club’s dormitories.

In addition, the number 18 that Yamamoto had worn for seven years is not permanently absent. “Personally, I hope that a player who is determined to carry Yamamoto’s number will use it,” Orix President Michio Minato said. “I think it will be difficult if I am determined to handle it, have a certain performance, and meet the three requirements of the team.” Ichiro Suzuki’s No. 51 has not been used by Orix since 2001 when he moved to the Major League.

In order to wear Yamamoto’s No. 18, he needs to be a good candidate. Having been drafted by the Orix Buffaloes as the fourth pick in the 2016 draft, Yamamoto was not a top-class prospect until he joined the team. However, he has continued to grow since his debut in the main league in 2017, and changed his position to become a starting pitcher in 2019, standing tall at the top-class pitcher in the league. He has had a total of 172 games (897 innings) in the seven seasons of the Japanese pro baseball, 70 wins, 29 losses, 1 save, 32 holds, and an ERA of 1.82 strikeouts.

After ranking first in ERA in 2019, first in strikeouts in 2020, he has won four consecutive pitcher titles in multiple wins, ERA, strikeouts and winning percentage for three consecutive years from 2021. He swept the Sawamura Prize and the Pacific League MVP for the third consecutive year, achieving two no-hitters. By winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and the World Baseball Classic in March this year, he also served as the ace player for the Japanese national team in international competitions.

Despite being 178 centimeters tall, he boasts fastball of up to 159 kilometers, high speed forkball in the late 140 kilometers range, cutter, and stamina that allows him to throw long balls, freely. As a pitcher, he was evaluated as a pitcher with high completeness and will be used as a starting pitcher immediately in the Major League. Born in 1998, he was recognized for his high value at the young age of 25, and acquired the highest contract ever for a pitcher in the Major League history with the Dodgers.

Yamamoto, who joined the team at Dodger Stadium wearing a Dodgers uniform with his number 18 engraved on it on his SNS account, said, “Thanks to all the people who helped me this far, I have taken the first step as a major leaguer. I was so nervous that my prepared comments flew by during the press conference. It was a big excuse, but I had to express my gratitude to the Orix Buffaloes team officials and fans who played for the past seven years. I will prove to you that the pitching that I produced with you can work in the Major League.”

“L.A. Dodgers fans, since I signed a 12-year long-term contract, I will always challenge myself to continue contributing to my team’s victory with the determination to bury my bones in LA,” Yamamoto said. “It hasn’t been long since I got here, but I really like the streets of LA. Of course, Osaka will always remain a special city to me, but I want to become a member of LA as soon as possible and enjoy everything in LA.”

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