Chiba Lotte’s “female staff” responsible for the team’s first “B” class in three years
Former Chiba Lotte Marines manager Shihito Iguchi suddenly announced his resignation at the end of the season in front of fans at the final game ceremony held after the team’s 5-3 win over Softbank on October 2. The players and staff who had fought on the field were not informed of his resignation until that day. It is said that former coach Iguchi’s resignation was due to the fact that he “could not swallow the details of the coaching staff’s plan for the next season,” and it became clear that there were cracks in the team due to the discord between the female staff and the coaches, who had been benched by the former coach midway through the season. However, it became clear that there were cracks in the team due to the discord between the female staff and the coaches.
A female staff member who was benched mid-season…
I think it is really my fault that we are in the B class for the first time in three years.
I have been working hard toward the “2025 Marines Project,” and although my ambition is halfway there, I will be stepping down at the end of this season and pass the baton to the next manager.
A sudden announcement of his resignation. Naturally, the players and staff back behind the benches could not hide their bewilderment.
I was surprised. I hadn’t heard anything about it until before the game.
During former coach Iguchi’s speech, some yells flew from the stands, saying, ‘You should quit. So, I guess Director Iguchi didn’t really intend to say it, but he got angry and said it. …… I am so surprised that I want to think so.”
In his third and fourth years as manager, Iguchi, who took over in 2018, led the team to second place in the Pacific League in consecutive years in 2020 and 2009, and was expected to win the championship this season. On April 10, the 13th game of the season, 20-year-old Akinori Sasaki became the 16th player in professional baseball history to pitch a perfect game. The catcher was Torao Matsukawa, a high school graduate rookie. With the emergence of some promising young players, expectations were high for the team to win the league championship for the first time in 17 years.
However, Laird, who was assigned the No. 4 spot at the start of the season, batted below 10% for the first time in his eight years in Japan and hit only 15 home runs. Martin from Cuba, who was also expected to be the mainstay of the team, fell into an extreme slump, batting in the 10% range, and returned to Japan at the end of August. The batting lineup was unable to cover for the pitching staff, which gave up the most runs in the league. Sasaki, who had achieved a perfect game, was out for about a month due to a crushed blister in the summer while the team was holding on to third place. While he had the glow of a perfect game, he could not pitch to save the team when they were in trouble. A source in the baseball world revealed, “This season, Lotte has had a lot of women on the pitching staff.
A source in the baseball world revealed, “This season, Lotte had a female staff member on the bench from the middle of the season, and when she started talking to the players and the leadership, things started to get tense. The number of people allowed on the bench is fixed. I heard that Director Iguchi wanted to cut the number of staff members who were originally supposed to be on the bench, and she was brought in.
The female staff member was the daughter of former president Kawai, who is retiring at the end of this season along with director Iguchi. What kind of woman is she? A veteran baseball reporter revealed the following.
She seemed to have come to the bench for mental care and was meeting with the players individually. The woman was originally a yoga instructor, but she did not have the kind of mental qualifications that professional baseball players and coaches would look up to. If her advice had been limited to the players, the damage might have been less severe, but it also reached the coaches.
Depending on how you look at it, he deserved it.
This season, when the team was expected to win the championship, they were hovering between 3rd and 5th place. Even though the coaches made occasional harsh demands on the players in an attempt to turn things around, it did not lead to results, and the atmosphere became a vicious cycle of heaviness. In an attempt to improve the situation, the female staff began to mention to the coaches how they should communicate with the players.
In particular, this season’s first-team coaches were invited because they have a similar view of baseball to that of manager Iguchi and were trusted by him. They also have pride. Some coaches said, “What is she ……? （She doesn’t know anything (about professional baseball). It is natural to assume that such an attitude of dissatisfaction would eventually fall on the ears of the president, who is also their father. One of the team’s alumni revealed, “For example, one of the coaches told me that the woman was a member of the team.
For example, even if the coaches are not satisfied with what the female staff member has to say and want to demand improvements, it is difficult for them to sue her head-on if they know that she is a staff member chosen by the manager and that the team executives are behind it. This is because the coach is also a hired hand. Some of the players thought he was a spy (who would inform the president).
What about former manager Iguchi? A veteran baseball reporter reveals.
In fact, it seems that former manager Iguchi began to distance himself from the female staff members toward the end of the season. This year, several foreigners returned to Japan in the middle of the season, and some of them had already left the country without former manager Iguchi’s knowledge. The female staff member is fluent in English, and I have heard that in one case she communicated with the foreigner and talked to former President Kawai (who is her father), and the decision to return home was unofficially made before consulting Director Iguchi. It seems that former director Iguchi was distrustful of the process.
Perhaps it was a combination of the team’s lack of performance in its bid for the championship and the frustration of his own moves backfiring, but this year, unlike in 2020 and 2009 when the team advanced to the CS, former manager Iguchi often showed his emotions on the bench when a bunt failed or when he was thrown out at an opportune moment.
In his resignation speech, former manager Iguchi, who had to leave the field after failing to produce the results he “deserved,” depending on how you look at it, concluded his speech with the following words: “The young players standing behind me are the best players in the world.
The young players standing behind me are growing day by day, step by step. Let us hope that you will watch over them with a long-term perspective and expect them to make great strides next year, the year after that, and the year after that.
The baseball team announced its new manager, Yoshii Rito, on August 7, and by that day, eight coaches who supported the previous Iguchi administration had left the team. However, former president Kawai is currently the only one in charge of the baseball team.
In March 2021, the team dared to announce “Marines Plan 2025,” the team’s medium- to long-term plan to “aim for victory in the battles ahead of us and become Reiwa’s evergreen winning team by 2025,” and it was this plan that enabled the team to aggressively reinforce FA and foreign players, which had not been done very aggressively in the past. The team was able to aggressively reinforce the team with FA and foreign players, something it had not done before, in part due to former manager Iguchi’s track record and name value. However, both President Kawai, who upheld the team’s philosophy, and former manager Iguchi, who was the top manager on the front line, left the team. If the remaining team officials do not continue to invest in strengthening the team, the players and staff who will play for the Lotte team next season and beyond will be the biggest victims.