Kaiba Taira of Saitama Seibu Lions, Reveals Why He Stream Live Video Games During the Season | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kaiba Taira of Saitama Seibu Lions, Reveals Why He Stream Live Video Games During the Season

His surprising switch to a starting pitcher was a huge success in his first year! What is this new ace's hobby that fans are so worried about?

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In the off-season, his teammates sometimes appear in his delivery. He also uploads videos of himself explaining his pitches on an irregular basis.

I laughed when I saw Hirara playing baseball.

When the distributor found this comment in the viewer’s chat box, which was flowing in and out of viewers’ chats at a dizzying pace, he immediately responded, “You’ve got it backwards!”

This was a scene from “Taira Gem,” the personal YouTube channel of Hirara Hiruma (23) of the Saitama Seibu Lions. It is unprecedented for a professional baseball player, especially one who is a mainstay pitcher in the starting rotation of the first team, to distribute a live video game on his personal channel during the season. When he pitches, viewers tease him, saying, “A YouTuber is playing baseball (laughs),” but his day job is going well.

In his second year as a professional pitcher, he has made a number of appearances for the first team, and last season, his fifth year, he won the title of best relay pitcher with a 1.56 earned run average. In his sixth year as a professional pitcher, he made a direct appeal to the team to become a starter. During the spring training camp, he declined to participate in the WBC and worked hard to make adjustments.

I think I can contribute more to the team by pitching longer innings, and I have not changed my mind about that since I was a rookie. Still, it was a big decision for me to switch to a starting pitcher. If I had gone to the WBC, I wouldn’t have been able to prepare as well as I would have liked.”

Although there was much opposition to his switch to a starting pitcher, including the team’s leadership, he won six games in the first half of this season alone, and his 2.30 earned-run average was the third best in the league (as of August 2, 2012). But in reality, Hirara is a very clever pitcher. He uses the information he gathers from data analysis companies and other sources to formulate his pitching strategy.

He says, “I check the characteristics of my ball against the opponents’ strong courses and types of pitches, and think about what kind of pitches I should throw to get the results I am looking for. I also consider other aspects of pitching besides data, such as how my fingertips feel on the day and how my body is feeling. I hope that my success as a starter will increase the number of Seibu fans and baseball fans.

Hirara’s “special hobby” mentioned at the beginning of this article was also the result of thinking about what he could do for his beloved baseball.

“I’m particular about live broadcasting, where I can connect with viewers in real time,” he said. “Usually, junior high school and high school students and amateur baseball players don’t have the chance to ask questions to the pros. That’s why I came up with the idea of giving the pros’ thoughts and tips on how to improve while playing the game in a casual manner. I also talked openly about my annual salary and the salary transfer system (laughs). With live broadcasting, I don’t need any editing skills, and I manage the channel myself. I just want to spread the word about baseball.”

Behind the joyful screen, there is the determination of a young lion who will carry the baseball world on his back.

Basically, he distributes FPS games. The number of registered users is about 92,000, and the total number of views is about 7 million.

From the August 18-25, 2023 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Shinji Hamasaki

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