Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki started the season with Triple-A Buffalo. But following a severe left ankle sprain by Jose Reyes last month, the big league club called up the excitable Japanese import. And while Kawasaki hasn't lit the world on fire at the plate, teammates and fans alike love the enthusiasm he brings to the ballpark. Everyone got to see his unique zest for life Sunday.
With Toronto down 5-2 to start the bottom of the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles, Kawasaki eventually found himself at the plate with the score 5-4 with two outs and runners on first and third. The veteran of two title-winning World Baseball Classic squads then sliced a Jim Johnson pitch to left-center that proved to be the game-winner. Following his walk-off double that gave the Jays a 6-5 victory over the O's, Kawasaki then gave one of the greatest postgame interviews ever.
Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani initially spoke to Mark DeRosa, who scored the winning run. But DeRosa deferred to the ebullient Kawasaki, who when asked, "What do you have to say for yourself?" by Madani, exclaimed, "Thank you very much! My name is Munenori Kawasaki! I am from Japan. I'm Japanese!" The infielder then referred to a phrase book and added, "My teammates gave me an opportunity so I wanted to do something about it" - which was greeted with a pie in the face from Emilio Bonifacio and a Gatorade dousing by Jose Bautista and another teammate.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Munenori Kawasaki
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Baltimore Orioles