Why did Tampa Bay erect a statue of a Japanese player who played for three seasons?

The Tampa Bay Rays erected a statue at their home stadium, Tropicana Field. The subject is somewhat interesting.토토사이트

Tampa Bay unveiled two statues in the plaza in front of Tropicana Field ahead of its home game against the Toronto Blue Jays on the 24th (Korean time).

One is a statue of Evan Longoria, and the other is a statue of Akinori Iwamura. Iwamura especially visited the stadium in person on the 24th and even threw the first pitch in commemoration.

Longoria played 10 seasons in Tampa Bay and was awarded Rookie of the Year in 2008, three All-Stars, three Gold Glove Awards, and one Silver Slugger Award. He is a player who deserves a statue.

His more interesting side is Iwamura. Because he only played three seasons from 2007 to 2009.

It wasn’t that he couldn’t do it. He had a batting average of .281, an on-base percentage of .354, and a slugging percentage of .393 in 344 games over three seasons. He played third base and second base.

Injuries derailed his career quickly, but it was hard to call his major league challenge a total failure.

Nevertheless, it is honestly questionable whether he deserves to have a statue erected. Japanese reporters who visited Tropicana also responded, ‘Honestly, I was a little surprised.’

The reason why Tampa Bay erected a statue of Iwamura despite these questions is simple.

This is because this statue commemorates a moment in the club’s history rather than the player itself.

Iwamura’s arms raised and cheering depicted the moment he caught the last out in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox on October 19, 2008.

Iwamura, who played as a second baseman at the time, ended the game by catching Jed Lowry’s ground ball in the top of the 9th inning with the score up 3-1 and directly stepping on second base.

Thanks to the last out that secured the Rays’ first World Series appearance in history, he now has his own statue 15 years later.

Longoria’s statue is another meaningful scene in the club’s history. It depicts the scene in which he hit a walk-off home run in the 12th inning of the final game of the 2011 regular season, confirming the team’s advancement to the postseason. It is one of the major scenes in the history of the Tampa Bay team, widely known as the so-called ‘Game 162’.

These statues were created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Rays team. It was created by Tampa Bay area sculptor Stephen Dickey in collaboration with Bronze Art Foundry.

In an interview with local media, Iwamura said, “I am so happy that I have become a part of the club’s history.”

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