Dave Okubo of the Giants: Practicing hard “before dawn”… “Unexpected player” who caught his eye. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Dave Okubo of the Giants: Practicing hard “before dawn”… “Unexpected player” who caught his eye.

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Coach Okubo at the fall camp. At right is Hayato Sakamoto (Image: Kyodo News)

It’s really tough.

It’s really tough. ……

The young players of the Giants are screaming. The Giants’ fall training camp is being held at the Miyazaki Sports Park in Miyazaki Prefecture. Hiromoto Okubo, 55, who has been appointed chief hitting coach, is giving the young players a hard time.

Dave-san (Okubo’s nickname) has been imposing early work at the Ki no Hana Dome, which starts early in the morning, after 6:00 a.m. Practice begins before dawn, and the players are given a lot of time to practice. Practice begins before dawn, and it is pitch-dark around us. The content is extremely strict. The quota for tee hitting is 2,000 swings. In addition, the players perform 15 different case blows, including batting to the right, bunting, and end-runs.

On the first day of the fall camp on November 2, all 14 players had completed their quotas by 4:00 p.m. In fact, they trained intensely for nine and a half hours.

In the past, there have been power harassment scandals. ……

Early work is scheduled to continue every day until November 20, the last day of fall camp. Coach Okubo is said to be proud of his team’s success, saying to the press, “Mr. Dave said, ‘We have a quota, but we don’t have time to meet it.

Dave said, “A quota is a quota. It is important to make it a habit for yourself. I think he wants to give them heavy work in the fall so that their bodies will be ready for next spring’s camp. On the other hand, from the players’ point of view, I think they are anxious about what kind of tough quota awaits them in the spring because they are required to practice so hard even in the off-season.

The players’ anxiety may be justified. This is because Mr. Okubo has caused trouble in the past.

In July of the same year, Okubo was fired by the Seibu baseball team. In July of the same year, Seibu announced that coach Okubo had engaged in inappropriate behavior. After interviewing him, it was admitted that there had been trouble due to violence. It is said that he coached Yusei Kikuchi, who is now with the Blue Jays, and others excessively through early work, etc.” (reporter for a sports newspaper)

At this fall camp as well, there is one player that Okubo seems to have his eye on. He is Masato Akihiro, 20, an infielder who will be entering his third year as a professional player next season.

Akihiro is a very large fielder, standing 2 meters tall and weighing 95 kg. He has been given the same number, 55, as Hideki Matsui, the former mainstay of the team. Both of them hit left-handed, so you can see how high the team’s expectations are for them. Mr. Dave is also giving his word that he is confident that Godzilla can become the second generation of Godzilla, and he is determined to develop him into a great hitter like Matsui, who is expected to bat 2,000 at bats.

However, expectations can also put a lot of pressure on a player. Like Akihiro, Taishi Ota (now with DeNA), who was drafted in the first round in 2008 as a big slugger with a height of 188 cm and Matsui’s number “55,” was a promising player who failed to make it big in the Giants. In an interview with “FRIDAY” in May 2006, he said, “I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it big with the Giants. In a May 2006 interview with “FRIDAY” (he was with Nippon Ham at the time), he said, “Why me?

I was like, ‘Why me? I was like, “Why me? An 18-year-old kid who had never played in the Koshien National High School Baseball Tournament and had no experience, was suddenly the focus of daily attention from the media. I felt like I was being crushed by the high expectations of the people around me and my impatience to become a big hitter like Matsui as soon as possible.

I hope that Coach Okubo’s enthusiasm does not spin out of control.

  • Photo Kyodo News

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