Ariel Miranda, Masaru Nakamura show baseball is more international than ever

Ariel Miranda, Masaru Nakamura show baseball is more international than ever
What could have in common a Japanese pitcher in Mexico and a Cuban Pitcher in Korea? Well, they went from underdogs to being recognized as the best pitcher in two of the top baseball leagues in the world.

Ariel Miranda was born 32 years ago in La Habana, Cuba, while Masaru Nakamura was born in Kasukabe, Japan, 29 years ago. This year both were playing ball half way around the world from where they were born. Miranda recently earned the top pitcher honor in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and Nakamura took the same honor in the Mexican Baseball League (LMB).

Basically this season saw a Latin pitcher dominate an Asian league to the point of setting a new record, while an Asian pitcher was the best arm in a Latin league. This is the beauty of baseball.

Miranda, is a veteran who has played at the MLB Level, NPB and CPBL before arriving in Korea with the Doosan Bears. The expectations for him weren't too high, but he dominated the league at the point to win the Choi Dong Won Award, a recognition that celebrates the career of Korean legend Choi Won Dong, who passed away in 2011.

The Cuban ace registered a 14-5 record, posting a 2.33 ERA and striking out 225 batters. Those 225 strikeouts became a new record for the league, the previous one (223) was in Choi's hands.

On the other side of the world, Nakamura arrived in Mexico by the recommendation of Luis Alonso Mendoza. Mendoza played with Nakamura on the Nippon Ham Fighters and now is part of the front office of El Mariachi de Guadalajara, an LMB expansion team.

“I remember him being a great guy and not having a job at that point”, answered Mendoza when he was questioned about Nakamura, according to the local reporter Ariadna Ibarra.

But Nakamura surely was more than a “good guy”, he registered an 8-0 record posting a 3.25 ERA and striking out 46 opponents in just 52.2 IP. Besides, that became a marketing success for the team with the Nakamura Day every time the Japanese pitcher took the hill.

Maybe Miranda and Nakamura don’t know each other, but this summer they crossed the Pacific Ocean to prove that baseball is a global game.