Hotaka Yamakawa (Softbank Hawks), the “main character” who made the Japanese professional baseball world seething this winter, apologized to Hiroshi Kaino, who wore a Seibu Lions uniform as his “reward player.”마카오토토주소
Japan’s “Daily Sports” reported on the 1st (Korean time) that “Hotaka Yamakawa of the Softbank Hawks apologized to Hiroshi Kaino, who wore a Seibu uniform as a compensator.”
Yamakawa is one of two instances that caused a stir in the Japanese baseball community this winter. Yamakawa started his professional career after being drafted by the Seibu Lions in the second round of the 2013 Nippon Professional Baseball Rookie Draft. Yamakawa, who entered the first division at the same time as joining the team, displayed his potential by scoring 14 arches in 49 games in the 2016 season, and succeeded in becoming a full-fledged starting player from the 2017 season.
Yamakawa, in particular, won the title of the Pacific League home run king by shooting 47 home runs in the 2018 season, and hit 43 home runs the following year, continuing his record for the second consecutive year. Since then, he has struggled in the 2021 season after the ‘career low’ season, but he has revived spectacularly by playing in 129 games in the 2022 season with 119 hits, 41 home runs and a batting average of 0.266 OPS, and once again winning the title of the home run king. And based on this momentum, he joined the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team and helped Japan win the championship trophy.
It was early in the 2023 season that Yamakawa, who had been on a roll, fell. Yamakawa, who participated in the WBC and won the title of “all-in-one,” was accused of sexual assault. Yamakawa argued that there was no coercion, but the victim made the opposite argument. In conclusion, Yamakawa could have avoided legal responsibility by being prosecuted, but he only played in 17 games in the 2023 season as he was given a severe punishment of “unlimited suspension” by the Seibu team. It was the fall of Japan’s representative “slugger.”
Eventually, Yamakawa came to the market through a free agent (FA) qualification while his image had deteriorated significantly, and questions arose as to whether a player suspected of sex crimes would be able to find a new destination. However, everyone’s expectations were quite wrong. Softbank, which had been aiming to recruit a Uta big gun, hired Yamakawa. After learning that Yamakawa would participate in the Miyazaki Education League, Softbank actively pursued Yamakawa to the extent that it sent scouts.
Immediately after the news of Softbank’s acquisition of Yamakawa came out, the Japanese baseball community was in a frenzy. In particular, as Softbank actively conducts events and events for female fans, Yamakawa, who was accused of sexual crimes, came as a shock. Angry fans protested against the Softbank club and turned their backs on it. However, Softbank officially announced the contract with Yamakawa, leaving the criticism behind.
The Japanese baseball community, which had already been noisy with the joining of Softbank with Yamaka, was heated up again a few days later, this time due to a compensation player issue. On the morning of the announcement of the compensation player with Yamaka, “Nikkan Sports” was due to a report that Seibu would nominate Wada Tsuyoshi, a one-club man legend of Softbank, as compensation player for Yamaka. The Japanese version of “Kim Kang-min incident” almost happened. As a result, even existing fans criticized Softbank.
Softbank rushed to discuss with the Seibu club as fans protested, and Seibu decided to name Kaino, who sprayed fastballs of up to 160 km, rather than Wada. However, the fact that Wada was released from the protected player list shocked Softbank fans. Due to these incidents, not only Wada, who almost moved to Seibu, but also Kaino, who moved to compensation, were greatly hurt.
This is where a behind-the-scenes story was told. A ceremony for Kaino to join the club was held in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Japan on Sunday. After the joining ceremony, Kaino faced reporters and declined to elaborate, but disclosed that he had contacted Yamakawa after moving to a compensation player. According to “Daily Sports,” Yamakawa also confessed that he had contacted Yamakawa.
Kaino did not disclose the details of the conversation, but Yamakawa made some of the details public. He expressed his apology. According to “Daily Sports,” Yamakawa said, “It must have been hectic because of the change of team, but I expressed my apology.” Yamakawa then said, “I want to play a good match because we will continue to face off in the professional baseball stage. I want to play a proper match because I’m a good pitcher.”
Kaino, who seemed a bit shocked at the time of the transfer, also seemed a little relieved after receiving an apology from Yamaka. According to Japan’s Sponichi Annex, Kaino said, “Seibu is a team with incredible fan support. I think I chose it because I thought I needed it. I want to share joy with fans through many victories.”