The majority of baseball fans in the United States have likely not heard the name Roki Sasaski.
But they may want to get the know the name.
Sasaki is a 21-year-old flamethrower who regular hits triple digits on the radar gun and struck out 19 batters during a perfect game last April. He’s expected to be a breakout star at this year’s World Baseball Classic.
But Sasaki’s initial WBC appearance was a mixed bag of sorts.
Sure, the future superstar struck out eight batters in 3 2/3 innings and allowed no earned runs. But he walked two batters and, most notably, plunked Czech outfield William Escala with a 101-mile-per-hour heater.
Japanese Ace Gives Czech Hitter Bags Of Candy After Hitting Him With Pitch
Ever the gentleman, however, Sasaki apologized for hitting Escala in the most hilarious of ways.
A painful experience at the World Baseball Classic had a sweet ending for William Escala — thanks to an unexpected visit from Japanese phenom Roki Sasaki.
Two days after plunking Escala with a 101 mph pitch, Sasaki apologized to the Czech Republic outfielder Monday morning and brought him two bags filled with Japanese candy. – via ESPN
As an apology for hitting him with a pitch, Team Japan pitcher Roki Sasaki gifted Team Czech Republic's William Escala with two giant bags of candy.
You gotta love the #WorldBaseballClassic. https://t.co/WDqQBtUiFD
— World Baseball Classic (@WBCBaseball) March 13, 2023
To his credit, Escala took the whole thing in stride and even went autograph hunting.
“He gave me some goodies, and a bunch of different candies and stuff like that,” Escala said. “And then I asked him if he could sign the ball as a memory for me. Something I will keep. Very cool. Something I’ll cherish and never forget.”
“That was a wow moment,” Czech captain Petr Zyma told MLB.com. “The Japanese culture never stops to amaze me each day we are here. They once again took it to another level as a superstar that Roki is; he took his time to come to the bus, meet Escala, send us a bunch of candy and sign a ball for Willie. It was a huge sign of respect.”
Just think how many baseball brawls could be avoided with candy. Sasaki’s star is only just beginning to rise. But with acts like this and an incredible right arm, it won’t take long before everyone knows his name.