The Maa-kun economy

$54 million boost

Although Masahiro Tanaka’s return to the Rakuten Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League was not billed as a man vs coronavirus battle, a study released by Kansai University on Wednesday suggests that if it were, the 32-year-old right-hander is well positioned to earn the win with a local economic impact of nearly $54 million.

The study, authored by Professor Emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto, who has something of a cottage industry studying spill-over economic effects, calculated that Tanaka’s return would add 5.72 billion yen ($53.9 million) to the economy of Miyagi Prefecture, where the Eagles are based in the city of Sendai.

Tanaka, known widely in Japan by his nickname “Maa-kun” last pitched for the Eagles in 2013, he left for a seven-year stint after winning 28 consecutive regular seasons games. He extended that run to 30 with wins in the postseason before losing Game 6 of the 2013 Japan Series the Eagles went on to win — with Tanaka earning the save in Game 7.

Miyamoto calculated that if the Eagles’ home games are limited to half their ballpark’s capacity this season, the pandemic will cost the club about 4 billion yen ($37.7 million).

“This benefit does not represent revenue flowing into the club, but rather revenue generated outward from the club. If you look at the numbers, the salary figure reported in the media of 900 million yen ($8.5 million) does seem very high at all and in fact could give a huge boost to the prefecture’s economy,” Miyamoto said.

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