Randy Arozarena gives fans an unforgettable moment after stealing a home run in the World Baseball Classic
Randy Arozarena continues to have a dramatic flash for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, as he was at the center of a standout play in the semifinal game against Team Japan on Monday night.
His attention to the fans on the fence behind him afterwards was even better than the play.
Japan’s Kazuma Okamoto threw a pitch deep to Patrick Sandoval’s left field, and it was heading for the fence, where Arozarena was waiting to see if he had a chance to catch it. As he came down, Arozarena timed his jump to perfection and caught the ball with his glove before he could get over the fence for a home run.
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The robbery was met with immediate roars from fans at LoanDepot Park in Miami, as Arozarena, who is a star for MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays, was left standing with a deadpan look on his face after the play. He eventually let out a smile as he returned to throw the ball.
But, just as the next batter came to the plate and the crowd was texting and tweeting the viral moment on their phones, Arozarena was seen signing baseballs and flags for Team Mexico, for whom he plays instead of Cuba, while the game was still going on. in.
Arozarena interacted with the fans before putting his glove back on and getting into position for the next batter.
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This World Baseball Classic has brought a different energy to the ballpark than has ever been seen before, and some even say it’s a better atmosphere than the MLB World Series. Mexico and Japan have had rabid fans who go crazy for every strikeout, let alone a home run … or steal in Arozarena’s case.
Arozarena has also been quite the player for a team from Mexico that he had to beg to be a part of. He is from Cuba, but after defecting to Mexico before joining the MLB, Arozarena’s relationship with his home country is broken.
For years, the relationship between the US and Cuba has been strained due to the latter’s communist regime following Fidel Castro’s rise to power. That affected many things, including sports, where Cuba banned professional baseball from the country, causing many defectors to head to the US.
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Today, players like Arozarena are stars in the league, but in the eyes of their country, they seem disloyal for leaving. The Cuban Baseball Federation allowed players who defected to return to play for their national team in the WBC if they so wished, but Arozarena was not one of them.
Instead, he asked Mexico to grant him citizenship so he could play, and that’s exactly what they did. It has been worth it for them too.
Arozarena has been phenomenal for the team, slashing .421/.593/.842 with one home run, five doubles and nine RBIs in six games heading into Monday’s semifinal.
Arozarena’s success on the pitch has given Mexico the streak in the tournament, and he’s been having fun with it ever since he donned the ‘El Tri’ jersey. Fans of the Mexico team have also welcomed him with open arms.
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And a perfect example of his rise to fame among them was shown in left field in the middle of a game, a move simply unheard of in MLB.