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Japanese slugger hits baseball (quite literally) through the roof

Baseball is as big a sport in Japan as rugby is in South Africa, so when a player does something special, you’re bound to hear all about it on Japanese social media.

This was the case with Shohei Ohtani’s piece of ridiculous skill and good-fortune.

The Japanese slugger was facing fast balls from a tenacious and slightly wayward Dutch pitcher in the Tokyo Dome, when he decided to swing. And swing he did.

Ohtani’s remarkable baseball belter wasn’t awarded a home run — a grave injustice

He caught the ball flush, it spiralled up into the air and into a 60cm gap in one of the roof’s panels.

Honestly, we have no idea how he did that either.

The players didn’t know what to do. The Japanese coach was left gob-smacked. The crowd didn’t know whether to cheer or jeer. Even the umpires had a conference in the middle of the diamond.

Eventually, Ohtani was allowed to complete a ground-rule double — what is effectively one base short of a home run — and well, the rest is internet history.

Picked up by major news outlets and image sharing site Imgur, the GIF on the latter has garnered over 240 000 views. The original source YouTube video, uploaded on 13 November, has gained just under 300 000 views too.

Have a look at the video yourself below (skip to around the 1:00 mark for the pandemonium):