The Osaka-centered Hanshin Tigers, the “big boys” of the Kansai region, are on the verge of winning their first title in 18 years. With 72 wins, 4 draws, and 44 losses in 120 games, and a winning percentage of 6.02%, they are in sole possession of first place in the Central League. They swept a three-game series against the Yakult Swallows last weekend, bringing their championship magic number to 15. They are 7.5 games ahead of the second-place Hiroshima Carp and 11.5 games ahead of the third-place Yokohama BayStars.
They don’t lead the league in hits, home runs, RBIs, or wins, but they have a good all-around balance, especially on the mound. The team ERA is 2.73, the only one in the double digits among the six teams in the Central League. They don’t have a 10-win pitcher yet, but they do have three nine-win pitchers.
Shoki Murakami (25), who made the leap to ace this season, has nine wins, along with Gotaro Odake (28) and Masashi Ito (27). Koyo Aoyagi (30) has seven wins and Hiroto Saiki (27) has six. Murakami leads the division with a 1.79 ERA.
His crowd mobilization is also top-notch. A total of 2.439 million people have attended their 59 home games. That’s 47,745 per game. This ranks first out of 12 teams in both leagues, ahead of the Yomiuri Giants (37,710). Hanshin is the only team to average more than 40,000.
Katsuhiro Miyamoto, a professor emeritus at Kansai University, calculated the economic impact of Hanshin’s championship at 87.214 billion yen ($78.6 billion), Japanese media reported Thursday. The figure far exceeds the 65.4339 billion yen (about 58.9 billion won) the team recorded when it won the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March.
Ito is a left-handed pitcher for Hanshin. Two of his nine wins this season have come against Yomiuri, including a complete game shutout. Photo credit: Hanshin Tigers SNS
Japan won three tournaments and 14 years in a row by fielding the strongest team in the game with top players such as Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), Darvish Yu (San Diego Padres), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes), Roki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte Marines), and Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox).
However, he believes that the economic impact of winning the Hanshin title was greater than the WBC title. Professor Emeritus Matsumoto said that the mood of Hanshin fans was greatly improved after the team won its first title in 18 years. Economic activity has also been boosted by the lifting of the coronavirus.
Hanshin is a team with a lot of stories to tell, having started this season under head coach Akinobu Okada (66). Young prospects such as Murakami have become the mainstay of the team. In the fan vote for the All-Star Game in July, 10 of the 11 positions were filled by Hanshin players. Attendance was up 20 percent from last year.
Hanshin legend Okada helped the team win the 1985 Japan Series as a center fielder. He was a key player in Hanshin’s only Japan Series title. He also led Hanshin to the 2005 title as manager. It was Hanshin’s last regular season title. Okada is the oldest manager in Nippon Professional Baseball.
This year, for the first time ever, two teams with ties to the Kansai region are on the verge of winning both league titles. Percy
The Oryx Buffaloes are in first place with 10.5 games in hand. A third consecutive league title is assured.
The Oryx play their home games at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture. The team was originally based in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, but moved to Osaka after merging with Kintetsu. Hanshin calls Nishinomiya Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, near Osaka home. In the Kansai region, Hanshin’s popularity is far outstripped by the Oryx.메이저놀이터
No two teams have ever won the league title in the same year. In 1984, the Oryx’s predecessor, Hankyu, won the title, followed by Hanshin in 1985. In 1995 and 1996, when the Oryx won back-to-back league titles, Hanshin finished last. When the Oryx reigned supreme in 2021-2022, Hanshin finished second and third. In 2003 and 2005, when Hanshin won the title, the Oryx finished last and fourth.