The Japan national baseball team is the national baseball team representing Japan in international competitions. They are one of the more successful baseball teams in the world, having won the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009. The team is currently ranked 3rd in the world according to the International Baseball Federation.Template:IBAF World Rankings ref/2010 June
The team has participated in every Summer Olympic Games since the first demonstration tournament in 1984. Until 2000, the team was made up exclusively of amateur players. Since the 2000 Summer Olympics, the team has been composed of players from Nippon Professional Baseball. The team playing in the 2006 World Baseball Classic included Japanese players from Major League Baseball as well. In the Classic, the team played in Pool A and placed second, advancing to round two. They went on to win the Classic. They played at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as they had qualified through the Asian Baseball Championship in 2007. Unlike the WBC roster, the Olympic team was exclusively formed by NPB players (but included one amateur player, who was drafted during the tournament's progress).
Like other national teams in Japan, the nickname is usually prefixed with the surname of the manager. However, in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the team used Samurai, a symbol of Japan's history, instead of Hara, the surname of their manager.
The team competed in the 2009 Baseball World Cup.
Asian Baseball ChampionshipEdit
- Main article: Asian Baseball Championship
Japan have dominated the Asian Baseball Championship since its inception, and have competed in every year. Japan have never missed out on placing in the top 3 in any tournament, and is the only team to have achieved this feat. Japan also holds the record for most consecutive Asian Championships, having won four times in a row on two separate occasions, including the four most recent tournaments to be held.
- Main article: Baseball at the Asian Games
World Baseball ClassicEdit
- Main article: World Baseball Classic
Japan won the inaugural World Baseball Classic, defeating Cuba in the final. This led to controversy over the regulations of the WBC concerning the fact that Korea had to face Japan three times and that it was Japan that was allowed to go to the finals, when it had four victories and three losses up to that point, two of those losses to Korea, while the Korean team, which had only one loss and had already beaten Japan twice, was eliminated from the finals.
Japan also won the 2009 World Baseball Classic, hosting the Pool A games in the Tokyo Dome. Japan started the tournament opener with a 4-0 win over China. Japan then secured advancement into the second round with a 14-2 win in seven innings over rival South Korea. The game was shortened due to the WBC's mercy rule. Japan then played South Korea again to determine seeding for the second round. In the rematch, the Koreans shut out Japan 1-0, making Japan advance as the Pool A runner-up. In Pool 1 of the WBC quarter-finals, Japan defeated Cuba 6-0, but lost to Korea again 4-1. In the elimination match that followed, Japan secured a spot in the semi-finals with a 5-0 win over Cuba. Japan defeated South Korea in the finals 5-3 partly because of an Ichiro Suzuki base hit in the 10th inning.
2009 WBC Roster Edit
- Main article: Baseball at the Summer Olympics
Baseball World CupEdit
- Main article: Baseball World Cup
- Main article: Intercontinental Cup (baseball)
- 1984 : Gold 1st (demonstration sport)
- 1988 : Silver 2nd (demonstration sport)
- 1992 : Bronze 3rd
- 1996 : Silver 2nd
- 2000 : 4th
- 2004 : Bronze 3rd
- 2008 : 4th