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Nootbaar's pepper grinder move unwelcome in Japan high school tourney

62 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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62 Comments
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High school baseball regulations tend to curb expressions of emotions, such as making a clenched fist after scoring.

We have always asked high school baseball to abstain from unnecessary performances and gestures...the Japan High School Baseball Federation said in a statement.

Really? Then the Federation must not have been watching any of the games because the "clenched fist expression" is almost always seen from the players. Any sport can be very emotional for the players, especially when played in a single-elimination tournament. Let's the kids be human.

33 ( +36 / -3 )

Taro Kono, ...raised the issue of the strict rules on a Twitter post.

But the article doesn't say what he said???

19 ( +20 / -1 )

no fun allowed! remember that, kids

4 ( +33 / -29 )

It's a bit of fun, which should be the ONLY reason for these kids playing in the tourney. These officials need to lighten up and not be so serious.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

A boring sport just became more boring.

13 ( +32 / -19 )

We understand the players’ feelings of wanting to have fun, but the federation believes the fun should come from the game,” the Japan High School Baseball Federation said in a statement.

I believe the rule is that the only fun allowed is the joy we derive from denying children their childhood.

Now shut up kids and get your butts to Juku class for some relentless. endless, unfullfilling and thoroughly unstimulating learning. Be home after 9!

3 ( +34 / -31 )

I suppose the Ump is worried that low self esteem or insecure kids will start imitating social behaviors just to look more cool or popular like purple hair, facial rings, tattoos, etc.

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

Freedom of expression in Japan has to be controlled and dictated by those above .

Form over substance…

-6 ( +21 / -27 )

This is very silly. To me the pepper mill gesture is more about celebrating with teammates than showing anyone up. It's no different to me than clapping, or cheering on a teammate. Should we ban that too?

24 ( +28 / -4 )

Good on the coach for backing the players to release their emotion and have fun!

I saw a boy at my son’s Uni rugby match on the weekend do the pepper grind move after he scored ! Everyone laughed and it was fun to see.

Ridiculous over management by the umpire. Why stunt the fun when we’re just coming out of Covid where the rules were so strict and emotions were hidden.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Forcing the kids to practice 5-6 days a week after school hours then not allowing them to have fun during the games.

Kids need way more freedom here. Enough of the dinosaurs telling them what is actually fun. Even cheering in Japan isn't normal. It's choreographed 90% of the time.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Japanese hierarchy love to dictate and reign over their subordinates...in everything from the office to a sports tournament.

Boring authoritarian bureaucratic losers!

-9 ( +20 / -29 )

The children are just having fun. Why do adults have to put a stop to it,” said Sato. "We should be thinking more about how children can freely enjoy baseball.”

It's heartening to see there are a few people willing to rock the boat and push back against this country's stubborn refusal to embrace positive change, like this maverick.

And by maverick, I mean a normal person with common sense.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

It's the culture, innit?

-15 ( +10 / -25 )

“ High school baseball regulations tend to curb expressions of emotions, such as making a clenched fist after scoring. “

Ridiculous, but not surprising…; the world of baseball in Japanese high schools is full of strict rules and everyone knows how they train these kidsphysically, psychologically and mentally…; in some ways, it’s like the army…; yes, they can learn some valuable things along the way… resilience, respect, team spiritbut they’re just kids… and this is just a game… they’re supposed to have fun… that’s why we love sports.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I'd prefer they implemented a "no-crying" rule

13 ( +20 / -7 )

"“The children are just having fun. Why do adults have to put a stop to it,” said Sato,"

Isn't that always the case with adults pushing and shoving their authority on kids, then they wonder why our kids are NOT as outgoing, independent, and creatine the rest !!?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I remember when they banned the cheerleading squad of an Okinawan team from using an Okinawan drum. The only drums permitted were Yamato taiko, they ordered.

In Japan, high school baseball is about more than sport. It's about churning out homogenous armies of model citizens.

-5 ( +19 / -24 )

The Savannah Bananas baseball team need to make a trip to Japan. Google or Youtube if you don’t know of them.

The old geezers would faint.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I'm torn between it being harmless or showing the other team up. Either way its a bit repetitive now and unnecessary when you've just walked in a 6-1 game.

Don't let it lead to the stupid little dances and pre-rehearsed home run celebrations we see on some Mlb teams

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I'd prefer they implemented a "no-crying" rule

Hahahahaha

4 ( +10 / -6 )

And in Japan they call this "education" ("father" knows best?).

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

In Japan, high school baseball is about more than sport. It's about churning out homogenous armies of model citizens.

Absolutely, Jeff Lee. It used to be the pointy end of militaristic education and the duffers who run it were never gonna give that up.

-14 ( +11 / -25 )

It always makes me a little sick to see Japanese high school baseball teams march out into Koshien like soldiers. Japanese baseball (at least on the high school level) is not about having fun, but learning how to conform and fit in.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

I mentioned in another post about how baseball teams and players in the US tend to be free to be more expressive and it's filtered into this WBC tournament. I've played ball in both countries for many years.

This tsk tsk by the ump about the kids making the pepper grinder gesture permeates through all of organized baseball, and by extension, much of the rest of society. It's unseen or written but felt everywhere.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

“We have always asked high school baseball to abstain from unnecessary performances and gestures. We understand the players’ feelings of wanting to have fun, but the federation believes the fun should come from the game,” the Japan High School Baseball Federation said in a statement.

I hate ‘statements’ made by a body of people. Grow a spine and put your name on it if you really believe it. Kudos to Sato for doing just that.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Nootbaar was born in California and is the first to play for Japan's national baseball team by virtue of ancestry. His mother is Japanese.

hold on if hes an American citizens then hes not allowed a Japanese citizenship also, why is he playing for Japan. It amazing how Japanese will bend the rules when it suits them.

youre only Japanese when it suits us

-13 ( +11 / -24 )

“We have always asked high school baseball to abstain from unnecessary performances and gestures. We understand the players’ feelings of wanting to have fun, but the federation believes the fun should come from the game,”

That it? You're not going to DEMAND how and when they have fun based on when and how you think that should be?

3 ( +9 / -6 )

We don't need robot players, we need robot umps

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It would have helped if the article had at least explained what the pepper grinder gesture even means. (Before researching the matter, I started to suspect that the gesture had some sort of violent or obscene meaning, given how it was banned. In the end, I am realizing that the gesture apparently is apparently used to encourage the team to "grind" out more points... and any gesture at all would have been banned at the high school game.)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

 “We should be thinking more about how children can freely enjoy baseball.”

Japanese kids are not allowed to have fun. They are drilled from early age on to become loyal and dutifull company drones lol

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

"Damedayo, dame!"

@Jeff Lee In Japan, high school baseball is about more than sport. It's about churning out homogenous armies of model citizens.

Very true. There's something about this one sport that also manages to turn off the 'instinct to learn' in the classroom too. The Japanese baseboru boy, although a character, has this remarkable and innate ability to deflect knowledge and the call to thought. It's quite the phenomenon, a culture unto itself!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Accentuating and obsessing over things like race and skin color is no way to go through life.

Except when it is "woke" media, discussing identity politics , allowing diversity in various nations,immigration.

Then it is okay to obsess in the estimation of you and yours.

Japanese officials obsessing about a "foreign" gesture of enthusiasm is excessive.

Let Noot and other athletes express themselves freely and safely!

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

I wish people would use the phrase 'umpire', rather than 'ump'.

Same as 'Noot'. Please call him by his full surname.

Tut tut

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Sorry but this is very funny.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Never mind that, what I want to know is how this guy has dual nationality.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Sick and tired of hearing about this guy. His batting average in MLB is only .231.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Never mind that, what I want to know is how this guy has dual nationality.

Who ever said he was a "dual national". Sounds like you just assumed it.

He qualifies for Japan on ancestry.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@ Awa no Gaijin

The rules of the WBC state clearly that you can represent a nation if -

"The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents."

Nootbar is among many players who qualify under this rule.

You do not have to be a national or a citizen of the team you represent. The same as rugby and many other sports.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Unlike the professional baseball league in Japan, high school baseball tournament might not require for the taste of entertainment. However, some degrees of expressions need to be welcomed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You might want to look up jus sanguinis and jus soli.

Most of the world is jus sanguinis.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just to clarify the nationality issue. The purpose of the WBC is to grow baseball outside of the Americas and east Asia. To do this, they need teams from Europe and other areas. To get these teams, they have very loose nationality requirements. If you have a grandparent from a certain country, you qualify to represent that country. This is how Nootbaar can play for Japan. Team Italy is made up almost entirely of Italian-Americans and not Italian nationals ( https://www.mlb.com/world-baseball-classic/roster/italy ). Same for Israel - mostly Jewish-Americans (think Sandy Koufax, Hank Greenberg). I think it is a good idea to get more people interested worldwide.

Didn't rugby also adopt a very loose nationality policy recently? Something like if you live in a country for two years, you can play for that country's national team? It seems they had the same idea - grow and expand rugby outside of countries other than the traditional power houses.

On a related note. What is Nootbaar's other half. "Lars Nootbaar" makes me think he also has Dutch heritage? Might he be able to play for the Netherlands in the future?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Dual nationality isn't allowed officially in Japan

For the zillionth time, people:

The WBC's rules on which country a player can represent are quite lax.

Having it both way?

One person's lax is another's inclusive.

Having the WBC accept Nootbaar's nationality while the JGOV may not points out their hypocrisy.

The same goes for taxation.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

High school baseball regulations tend to curb expressions of emotions, such as making a clenched fist after scoring.

> “We have always asked high school baseball to abstain from unnecessary performances and gestures. We understand the players’ feelings of wanting to have fun, but the federation believes the fun should come from the game,” the Japan High School Baseball Federation said in a statement.

The regulations don't tend to curb anything of the sort. The kids clench their fists after damn near every hit, run scored, great catch or even a strikeout. They cry tears of sadness when they lose and smile from ear to ear when they win. There are "guts pose" types of emotional responses seen throughout the games. I guess they must be watching sumo or some other sport.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Japanese fun police. Again!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Why? It is somehow OK for HS players to shed tears when they lose and dig up sacred infield soil of Koshien, but can't pepper grind? It is OK for them to laugh and smile and gesture how many outs there are when they play. They're coaches make ridiculous gestures they call 'signs' to tell their players to hit, swing for the fences, bunt, steal (a crime in real life, BTW) but a player can't pepper grind? Perhaps, the marching bands should be more subdued, too. Or, let's make the whole HS tournament into a moment of silence with no cheering sections. Maybe if Nootbarr had made a sign of making a California Roll Sushi it would be more acceptable to the. yakyu overlords. I mean, bloody black nails, Akiyama used to do cartwheels after hitting a home run. Cartwheels!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Apparently its ok for a basketball coach to run up the score where its 145 - 8 in a high school or junior high basketball game, but its not ok in baseball to disrespect the opposition. Youth sports in Japan are a mystery.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's the same line of thinking that kept girls off the bench at Koshien until a few years ago. For context, every high school baseball team in the country has a female student as "manager" who does gofer type jobs like keeping score, making big vats of tea or sports drink, or washing the players' uniforms. These girls would work tirelessly year round for the team, but would not be allowed near the Koshien pitch because blah blah tradition and would be forced to watch from the stands.

fwiw, that rule was in force even though the Hanshin Tigers would start every season on the same ground with a ceremonial pitch thrown by whatever pinup was popular at the time, usually in skimpy shorts.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I think the umpire was correct. It is a game but you are there to play the game and not copy other player's action. Concentrate on the game, you will learn but not be acting on the field. There needs to be discipline and I think Japan should continue to hold their ground and not listen, watch, imitate, follow and copy other country. For example, very few and I watched many Japanese baseball games, do players SPIT on the field. I think that is disgusting and I hope Japanese coaches and the baseball league will not allow it. Its not only USA teams but other foreign clubs and even the WLL games. How do young children learn? By watching adults and thinking that it is "cool."

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Too bad. Get used to it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Isn't there a rule against excessive celebration in US college football?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I think the umpire was correct. It is a game but you are there to play the game and not copy other player's action.

Good point, if you let the pepper grinder go, then imagine if it was a twerk or some weird dance (like the "griddy" that a wanna be gangster in the NBA does.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Only in Japan when it comes to sports you are Japanese anything else you are an outsider regardless, you have people born in Japan speak Japanese lived their entire lives in Japan and they are not accepted fully but because Lars Nootbaar mother is Japanese all of a sudden he's a highlight just as Osaka was. Lars Nootbar was born and raised in the USA went to El Segundo High School right here in Southern California, went to the University of Southern California had he not been Japans baseball team he would still be an outsider!! After Tsunami and the pepper grinding then what. Soccer ok I get it!! Jump on the band wagon and go for the ride

His mother was born in Japan, which means that under the WBC's rules, he could suit up for Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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