For major leaguers, the national team has a special meaning.안전놀이터
Player management in the American Professional Baseball (MLB) is beyond imagination. It is difficult to obtain permission from both the MLB Secretariat and clubs to participate in international competitions.
In the case of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), it is a competition directly hosted by the secretariat, but due to the nature of the competition held in March, it is not easy to participate if there is a history of injury or an unstable position in the team. Recently, in the case of Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers), both sides received an agreement, but it was canceled because they did not receive permission from the insurance company necessary to participate.
Darvish Yu (San Diego Padres) is also the national representative for the first time in 14 years since the 2009 WBC. It is his first time since entering the US. Darvish appeared on TBS, a Japanese TV show, and said, “I used to be the youngest member of the national team, but now I’m the oldest. Time flies so quickly.”
At the time, Darvish was the rinse pitcher in the final. He played as a starter until the second round of the finals, but switched to the bullpen from the tournament. He blocked the top of the ninth inning in the semifinal match against the United States without allowing a run. In the final match against Korea, Lee Bum-ho allowed a tying run in the 9th inning, leading 3-2, but Ichiro Suzuki’s 2 RBI double in the top of the 10th kept the lead and became the winning pitcher.
He is a ‘hero I saw on TV as a child’ to young players of the Japanese national team, such as Sasaki Loki (Chiba Lotte Marines). There are many players who think of Darvish’s cheers for winning the WBC.
Darvish looked back, “I wasn’t the type to talk comfortably back then, but now I’m the opposite. I actively communicate. My personality has changed while going through various pains.” He added, “I am also still growing. Rather than teaching my juniors, I want to talk with them from the point of view of studying each other.”
This WBC is the first tournament to be held in six years due to the aftermath of Corona 19. In addition to Korea and Japan, the atmosphere in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico is also hot. The atmosphere of evaluation matches between Latin American countries is already no less than that of the WBC. The face of the national team, which prides itself on being the ‘best ever’, is splendid.
Darvish was wary of excuses, saying, “The American strike zone is much narrower than Japan’s. The official ball is also different. But this is a problem for all players. It’s natural.”
However, “The members of the United States and the Dominican Republic are powerful. However, a ‘team’ is not just about gathering good players. There are holes to dig into.” He expressed his confidence, saying, “I can win as much as I want.”
Darvish debuted with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2005 and later entered the United States in 2012. He has played for the San Diego Padres through the Texas Rangers, LA Dodgers and Chicago Cubs. He is a living legend of Japanese professional baseball, recording 95 wins and an average ERA of 3.50, digesting 242 games and 1488 innings in 12 seasons in the big leagues.
In particular, last season, he washed away the sluggishness of the past few years and digested 194⅔ innings, recording 16 wins and 8 losses with an ERA of 3.10. San Diego praised Darvish for maintaining his skills and signed an extension until 2028.