Baseball team returns to Japan to hero's welcome

Huge crowds cheered as Japan 's baseball team made a triumphant return home Wednesday evening, a day after winning the inaugural World Baseball Classic with a 10-6 victory against Cuba .

Hundreds of fans lined up to greet the players at Narita Airport , outside Tokyo , rushing to snap photos of the national heroes with their camera mobile phones.

"We fought each game as best as we could, and as a result we've been able to bring you good news," manager Sadaharu Oh later told a press conference.

"When I saw all the people at the airport, I finally got the feeling that we'd achieved something big that we're world champions," said tournament MVP Daisuke Matsuzaka , Japan 's starting pitcher in the final.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters earlier in the day he "hadn't watched TV with such excitement for a long time."

"It was an incredible game," he said at his official residence.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and Texas Rangers pitcher Akinori Otsuka remained in the U.S. for spring training, reports the AP.


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