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Japan Overjoyed By Nomo’s No-Hitter

September 18, 1996

TOKYO (AP) _ Gathered around radios and televisions in homes, offices and shopping malls, Japanese cheered Wednesday as Hideo Nomo pitched his no-hitter at Coors Field in Denver.

``He doesn’t talk much, but I think he’s a good ambassador. I think Japanese are proud to see him doing so well,″ said Masami Hase, a 37-year-old office worker who saw footage of the game on a giant TV screen in a shopping mall in the Ginza area of downtown Tokyo.

The games that Nomo pitches are always shown live on satellite television in Japan, and Wednesday was no exception. The game ended just before 3 p.m. in Japan.

``It was really great. I was really excited,″ said Seiichiro Amanuma, 49, a Tokyo security guard. Amanuma watched the game in his office from the third inning onward. Seven other colleagues also huddled around the television.

``I was worried in ninth inning, but was sure when the last batter stood at the plate that Nomo would strike him out,″ Amanuma said with a big smile on his face.

In Tsukiji, one of Tokyo’s older districts, Atsuhiro Yamazaki, 22, a sushi chef, seemed overjoyed when asked about the no-hitter.

``I think it’s great,″ he said while walking down a street toward a lottery ticket window. ``He’s the pride of the Japanese. I want Nomo to continue to work hard for us.″

Near Shimbashi railways station, about a dozen businessmen wearing suits gathered inside an electronics discount shop to watch the game on the TV sets for sale.

The crowd grew larger by the minute as the game neared its end, and everyone smiled and cheered as Nomo completed the no-hitter.

Nomo, 28, pitched for five years for the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan’s Pacific League before he signed with the Dodgers in the spring of 1995. He was one of the top players in Japan, where baseball is the most popular team sport.

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