Hiroshima’s DOBAYASHI “Prince of Troubled Koi” has a promising future in a special circumstance
The man known as the “Prince of Koi” is now in his 14th year with the team.
Shota Dobayashi, 31, was drafted second overall in the 2010 draft by Hiroshima as a fast-footed, good-hitting infielder. He hit .242 with 14 home runs in his first season with the team in 2012, but from that point on he has been unable to find regular playing time.
In the 2008 season, he got off to a good start and his batting average temporarily exceeded 40%. However, due to fatigue and other factors, he lost speed in the second half of the season and finished with a .279 batting average. In the same year, he gave up a league-worst 17 blunders as a third baseman, making him a difficult player for the team leaders to use all year round.
At Chukyo Dai-chukyo High School, he hit 13 home runs as a pitcher on the mound at the Koshien Stadium. While he showed pride in his dual role as a pitcher, he also showed some mental irregularities when he first joined the team. When we interviewed him for an article in FRIDAY (September 28, 2012 issue), he did not say much when we asked him what he wanted to know, but instead showed an unfaithful attitude, saying, “I don’t really know.
He was probably frustrated by the fact that he was expected to do well, but was unable to achieve satisfactory results. I think that his accumulated frustration led to his unpleasant attitude.
Innocent words from his son that inspired him
However, at a certain point, Dorin changed in an almost unrecognizable way. He began to practice silently without showing his dissatisfaction.
The ‘kicker’ was his child.” He married former TBS announcer Erina Masuda in December 2002 and has young children. Her oldest son, who will turn 8 this year, began watching Hiroshima games on TV three or four years ago and innocently asked. Why doesn’t daddy go to the games? Dobayashi is excited by his son’s words. Dobayashi was inspired by his son’s words. He promised himself that he would show his son how he could play an active role in the game.
Dobayashi abandoned the pride he felt when he first joined the team. He went to Saifukuji Temple (Hirakawa-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture) every year off-season to perform gomadaki (a Buddhist rite of protection) five times in three days, instead of once a day. In January 2008, he bowed to Seiya Suzuki (now with the Cubs), his junior, and together they trained together in Kushima, Miyazaki, to try to improve his form.
Of course, I haven’t given up on trying to win a regular spot in the lineup. Of course, I haven’t given up on trying to win a regular spot, but my first priority is to contribute to the team in any way I can. His main goal is for Hiroshima to win the championship. This season, his success rate at batting in place is close to 40%, and his batting average with runners in scoring position is not bad either. He is a valuable trump card in right field, and his presence is increasing.
Dobayashi’s auspicious attitude has been well received by the baseball team. Former owner Matsuda is pleased with him, and manager Takahiro Arai has a high opinion of him. It is hard to say that his performance is satisfactory, but he is a candidate for a future executive position.
Even if he is not a regular, Dobayashi has become an irreplaceable player for Hiroshima, and his dedication to training should serve as a role model for the younger players.
PHOTO： Shinji Hamasaki