Warm welcome in Japan for Team Europe's Bocchi and Mineo. WBSC

Baseball players Matteo Bocchi and Alberto Mineo received a special welcome when they took to the field with Team Europe in Osaka, Japan, as part of the Global Baseball Games.

Matteo Bocchi and Alberto Mineo were warmly welcomed in Osaka by a delegation from Kanagawa Prefecture, who presented the two Team Europe players with a bouquet of flowers. The reception took place during the Global Baseball Games in Osaka, Japan. The Governor of Kanagawa is working on an agreement with the Italian city and thought that the baseball connection deserved to be celebrated. Both players play for Parma in the Italian Serie A.

Kanagawa Prefecture is a tourist area in the Tokyo area, with Kamakura and Hakone being two popular destinations. With a population of over 9.2 million, it is Japan's second most populous prefecture and its capital is Yokohama.

The prefecture has signed an agreement with the city of Parma, where right-handed pitcher Matteo Bocchi and catcher Alberto Mineo play. Bocchi, 27, grew up in the important Emilia Romagna city. Mineo is from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Both have Minor League Baseball (MiLB) experience and played in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

The baseball connection comes from Takahiro Kawagoe, who plays for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league. "We have visited Parma and are planning more visits in the near future. We will soon organise student exchange programmes. When we were in Parma last year, we had the opportunity to meet Matteo and Alberto. We thought they would appreciate our welcome," they stressed.