As Team Japan continues to roll through the World Baseball Classic, they have been largely bolstered by the motivational speeches of young outfielder Lars Nootbaar.
Nootbaar is one of 17 players from the St. Louis Cardinals organization who are competing in the WBC this spring.
But as a young player, many wouldn’t expect to see Nootbaar giving the motivational speeches as the team leader.
However, Nootbaar has done just that for Team Japan.
His fun antics and famous “grind the pepper” celebration have taken the baseball world by storm.
And before Japan’s matchup against Team Italy on Thursday, the 25-year-old outfielder was back at it again.
Lars Nootbaar, designated hype man for Team Japan 🗣 #WorldBaseballClassic pic.twitter.com/91cA8nVVtP
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 16, 2023
There are many reasons why Nootbaar is so well loved in St. Louis.
His fun-loving personality and sense of humor have rubbed off on the Cardinals, including some of their veterans such as Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright, Nolan Arenado, and Paul Goldschmidt.
However, the phenomenon has only grown and has spread all the way to Japan and throughout the baseball world.
It’s safe to say that now, the young outfielder and fan favorite has the entire baseball world in the palm of his hand.
But as a young player, he’s risen through the ranks very quickly and has become a clear leader for Team Japan.
In his speech, he made sure to tell his teammates that they needed to play loose and relaxed in order to pull out a victory against Italy.
Fortunately for Japan, they did just that and defeated Italy by a final of 9-3 to advance to the semifinals.NEXT: Paul DeJong Is Losing His Place On The Cardinals Roster