Toronto Blue Jays backup shortstop Munenori Kawasaki has been winning over fans and teammates with his unbridled enthusiasm and cheery disposition since he was promoted from the minors last month.
Brought in as a replacement for the injured Jose Reyes, Kawasaki, a 31-year-old from Japan, delivered the knockout blow against the AL East-rival Baltimore Orioles on Sunday, hitting a two-run double in the ninth inning that gave the Jays a 6-5 victory.
Kawasaki, whose English is less than perfect, said it was the best moment of his Major League Baseball career.
"I did it," he said, reading from prepared notes.
The winning double was also a big hit with fans, who flocked to buy Kawasaki T-shirts after the game.
"He’s a sparkplug, he’s a breath of fresh air," said Jays manager John Gibbons.