TOKYO & SENDAI, Japan--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (“Rakuten” or “Eagles”), owned by Internet services giant Rakuten, Inc., today clinched their first-ever Pacific League Pennant following a hard-fought victory over Saitama Seibu Lions. Only 9 years after joining Nippon Professional Baseball (“NPB”), the Pennant represents a major landmark for Japan’s youngest NPB team, which has often been looked upon as a symbol of hope for the Tohoku region following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Rakuten clinched the championship with 8 games remaining and have to-date compiled a winning record of 79-53-2, the team’s best win-loss record since its 2005 inception.
Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten, Inc., offered the following message to the Eagles’ players and their loyal fans:
This is only our ninth season since we entered the Pacific League in 2005, and we have now won the league title, which was one of our most important goals. I am filled with gratitude to all the fans who have continued to chant for us through thick and thin, and to everybody involved in supporting the team. Let me take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to you all.
To the players who have fought long and hard this season, I am immensely proud of you. Congratulations and thank you! And to coach Hoshino, who has led the Rakuten Eagles to their first League title, I express my sincere thanks to you as well.
Next up is the Climax Series and then the Japan Championship Series. I strongly believe that we will win those competitions and take the crown as the no. 1 team in Japan.
I look forward to the continued cheering in support of the Rakuten Eagles from our fans and others involved in the team.
Ace pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka has played a key role in Rakuten’s championship winning season. He has not lost a decision since 2012, stretching back 26 games. Tanaka’s winning streak has broken several existing professional pitching records, including consecutive victories in both Japan and America.
Following the conclusion of the regular season, Rakuten will next face-off in the Pacific League Climax Series beginning Oct.16., with the winner going on to compete in the Japan Series from October 26.
Rakuten, Inc. (JASDAQ: 4755), is one of the world’s leading Internet service companies, providing a variety of consumer- and business-focused services including e-commerce, eBooks & eReading, travel, banking, securities, credit card, insurance, e-money, portal and media, online marketing and professional sports. Selected by Forbes in the top 10 amongst the World’s Most Innovative Companies in both 2012 and 2013, Rakuten is expanding globally and currently has operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 10,000 employees and partner staff worldwide. For more information, visit http://global.rakuten.com/corp/.