In Japanese high schools, it’s customary for the band to accompany the baseball team to important games. Saitama’s Namegawa Sogo High even mixes in some modern musical stylings, as Queen’s “We Will Rock You” showed up on their set list for a recent contest in the prefectural championship tournament.

Of course, such a bombastic tune coming from the stands requires equal flamboyance from the players, and one student athlete responded with the craziest batter’s box warmup we’ve ever seen.

Having been raised in a football family, I don’t have the firmest grasp on every aspect of baseball rules and etiquette. I do know, though, that the batter is given some nebulous amount of time between pitches to stretch, scratch, or, if his name happens to be Ichiro, repeatedly adjust his sleeve.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do this before, though.

That’s Namegawa Sogo senior Yuji Baba, stepping up to the plate at Ageo City Baseball Stadium. Not content to simply loosen up with a couple of slices at the air, he spins his bat around well enough to be a baton twirler on the cheer team, leaps into the air like he’s trying out for the track squad, and poses like he’s volunteering to model for the photography club.

Reactions online have been mixed as to whether Baba’s colorful routine is an example of enthusiastic exuberance or disrespectful showboating, with more than one English-language commenter on the video wondering whether he’d still feel like dancing if the opposing pitcher decided to respond by playing him a little chin music. Setting that debate aside, this is very unusual for Japanese baseball.

As one of the few foreign-introduced sports that gets a Japanese name (in Japan, “baseball” is yakyu, literally “field ball”), baseball tends to have a far more traditional mindset and atmosphere than soccer/sakka or basketball/basukettoboru. In many high schools, members of the baseball team are expected to shave their heads and carry themselves with strict discipline, so such obvious appeals for attention as Baba’s are extremely rare, especially at the high school level.

The catcher certainly looks like he’s ready to get on with the actual game.

Nevertheless, Baba continues grooving throughout a long count that includes a couple of fouled-off pitches. At the video’s 2:56 mark, though, he finally puts the ball in play when he hits this chopper.

Unfortunately, the cameraman doesn’t follow the ball or Baba’s dash down the base path. As such, we don’t see for sure whether he was safe or got thrown out, but either way, we think we still got to watch the most entertaining part of the show.

Source: YouTube/kenanasq