Team Japan came out on top in the World Baseball Classic after one of the more entertaining championship games that we have seen in recent memory, solidifying themselves as the top baseball nation in the world. For Lars Nootbar, his participation with the team has brought him to new levels of fame.
The 25-year-old St. Louis Cardinals outfielder has never represented the country of Japan before. In fact, he doesn’t even speak Japanese. Nootbar was born in Southern California, and while his father is white and of Dutch, English, and German descent, his mother is full-blooded Japanese.
Lars Nootbar Re-Enters Cardinals Camp With New Level Of Fame
This is pretty sweet. Nootbar had 60k followed on instagram at the beginning of the WBC. He now has over 900k just a few weeks later. I’d say Nootbar is a grower. #GrowTheGame pic.twitter.com/9Alfpi4UWq
— Dallas Braden (@DALLASBRADEN209) March 23, 2023
His only experience with Japanese baseball before the 2023 WBC was back in 2006, when a youth team from Japan was touring the US, and Nootbar served as a bat boy for some of the games. He interacted with the team, later saying that the experience was instrumental in him accepting the invitation to represent the nation in this year’s event. It was something that he said he always wanted to do to honor his mother and make her proud.
Due to Japans success in the tournament, as well as his teammates’ affection for him and his celebrations and pep talks, Lars Nootbar and his popularity have soared to the top of the baseball world.
Nootbar Goes From 59k Followers To 914k On Instagram
The WBC catapulted these guys’ Instagram followings since the start of March
Shohei Ohtani: 1.8M to 4.8M
Lars Nootbaar: 59K to 901K
Randy Arozarena: 125K to 547K pic.twitter.com/8NIV2rpQQt
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 23, 2023
It can be seen in his Instagram following. Before the WBC began, Nootbar had 59,000 followers on his account. As it stands today, just two days after the conclusion of the event and Japan’s championship heard around the world, he is approaching a million. The count was at 914,000 and counting at the time of writing.
Nootbar will return to Cardinals training camp with a new level of fame. His entrance on Thursday was met with boisterous cheers from the crowd as he walked onto the field, something he wasn’t used to at all just two weeks ago when spring training began.
Lars Nootbar is listed as the starting right fielder for the Cardinals heading into the MLB season. He played in 108 games in 2022, taking 290 at bats. He had a .228 average while hitting 14 home runs and 40 RBIs.
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