Shota Imanaga

Shōta Imanaga explains why he bows to the umpire after receiving a new baseball

Imanaga carries Japanese traditions with him to MLB

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One of the most admirable idiosyncracies of Shōta Imanaga's presence on the bump is his gesture to umpires after receiving a new baseball.

Imanaga bows and tips his camp to umpires after receiving a new baseball, a gesture of respect that has since captured the affinity of Cubs fans. On "The Pat McAfee Show" on Thursday, the Cubs starter explained why he does that to umpires.

"It's something in Japan where you take off your hat, you bow," Imanaga said through translator Edwin Stanberry. "That's just tradition to show respect. It's something I've been doing since I've been playing over there."

Most of the time, Imanaga does a small bow and a tip to his cap. He doesn't make a grandiose gesture for fear of being penalized with a ball.

"I want to take off the hat every time but if I do it's gonna take a lot of time and it might end up being a pitch clock violation. So I just do a bow."

Imanaga is one of the most likable characters on the Cubs team. His humility, respect and sense of humor capture the hearts of North Side fans.

Yet, so does his performances on the bump.

Imanaga recently set an MLB record by holding a 0.84 ERA through his first nine career starts --- the lowest ERA of any pitcher through their first nine starts.

He holds MLB's lowest ERA, the fifth-lowest WHIP (0.91), the 12-lowest opponent batting average (.200) and a 5-0 pitching record to date. His next start is slated for Friday against the Cardinals.

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