No turnout at the Giants? Hisayoshi Nagano & Nobuhiro Matsuda, “Surprising Players Saved by Joining”
I want to put on the uniform I’m used to and do my best like a rookie with a new mindset.
I want to play young, hot and energetic.”
Former Hiroshima player Hisayoshi Nagano (37) and former Softbank player Nobuhiro Matsuda (39), who joined the Giants, both held press conferences on November 15 to show their youth and enthusiasm.
The two will have plenty of accomplishments to show for it. Nagano has won numerous titles, including rookie of the year, top hitter, and most hits. He has won the Best Nine Award three times and the Golden Glove Award three times. Matsuda is also a strong hitter, hitting a total of 301 home runs. However, …….
Nagano’s performance in recent years has clearly been on a downward trend. Nagano’s batting average in the last two years has been in the .201 range, with two or three home runs. Matsuda has played in only 43 games this season, the fewest in his professional career, and has not hit a single home run. Nagano has been told that Hiroshima has asked him to return to his old team, the Giants, but both men are effectively out of the lineup. Both Hiroshima and SoftBank were having trouble dealing with veterans who have a proven track record but are in decline,” said a reporter for a sports newspaper.
If they are not the main point of reinforcement, why ……
Can a change in the environment bring back the brilliance of yesteryear? But the reality is harsh.
The outfield that Nagano protects has many rivals, including Walker, Yoshihiro Maru, Riku Masuda, Seiya Matsubara, and newcomer Masaya Hagio. It will be very difficult for him to break in. For Matsuda, there is Kazuma Okamoto, the main gunner, at third base, his main job. Sho Nakata, who has also been assigned the No. 4 spot at first base this season, is also at first base. It is almost impossible for Matsuda to get a regular role.
If I had to give him a role, it would be as a trump card for the substitute hitters, but there is Hiroyuki Nakajima in the same position on the right. There is an overlap in types. It would not be surprising if some people are wondering, “Why did they take two players for a purpose that is not a reinforcement point?
If there is an advantage, it is the two’s unique personalities. Nagano is said to have the best personality in baseball, and they often hold dinner parties that transcend the boundaries between pitchers and fielders. He can be a good advisor for young pitchers. Matsuda is known as a “hot guy” and has a cheerful personality. He may be able to refresh the mood on the Giants’ bench, which has been gloomy since the team finished in the B class for the first time in five years this season.
Above all, there is one unexpected player who may be saved by the addition of the two. It is team leader Hayato Sakamoto.
Sakamoto, who will turn 35 next year, gets along well with Nagano, who is relatively close in age. When Nagano was with the Giants last time, they shared the title of most hits together. They spent a lot of time together in public and private, and were known as the ‘Sakacho duo.
Sakamoto also respects Matsuda. They played together in many international games, including Samurai Japan, and once shared a locker next to each other. Sakamoto told people around him, “Matsuda is a great player. He has been on the bench for many international games, including the Samurai Japan tournament, and has even had lockers next to his own. Just being on the team makes the atmosphere better.
The reason Sakamoto is saved is not only because he gets along well with the two players.
Sakamoto has been in a lot of trouble this season. In September, the Weekly Bunshun reported allegations that Sakamoto had requested sexual intercourse with a woman in her 20s without using contraceptives and forced her to have an abortion. Sakamoto, as expected, was not willing to sink to the depths of despair.
Sakamoto was disheartened and tried to change his mind. The fact that he participated in the fall training camp for the first time in 11 years along with the younger players is a sign of his sense of crisis. The addition of Nagano and Matsuda will further tighten Sakamoto’s grip. They may be a kick in the pants that will lift Sakamoto’s spirits.
Even if they do not help the Giants, these two veterans are likely to renew the stagnant atmosphere of the Giants. Even if they don’t become a force to be reckoned with, both veterans may be able to renew the sluggish atmosphere of the Giants.
Photo： Kyodo News