Hanshin Manager Okada’s “Legend of Undefeated Rock-paper-scissors” overwhelmed the reporters! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Hanshin Manager Okada’s “Legend of Undefeated Rock-paper-scissors” overwhelmed the reporters!

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Rock-paper-scissors here, too! No, it’s not rock-paper-scissors here. Manager Okada welcomes Mieses, who hit a home run (Photo: Sankei Shimbun)

There is a legend whispered among the reporters about Hanshin manager Akifu Okada, who is leading the Hanshin League with a team-leading 19 wins in May after returning to the manager’s post for the first time in 15 years.

Okada-san never loses a rock-paper-scissors fight.

One of the current reporters who once worked for Okada recalls, “During the camp, all the reporters were on the same page.

He recalls, “We used to have rock-paper-scissors tournaments at camps and other occasions when all the reporters in charge would get together. It was held several times a year, and not only reporters but also employees of the baseball team would join in the fun. In the case of Hanshin, each newspaper and news agency had several people in charge, so there were about 50 reporters alone, and Okada-san would always participate.

The winner or the loser would remain, and the loser would sit down. When there were fewer people left, those standing stood out, didn’t they? Mr. Okada was always there among the winners. And he would win the rock-paper-scissors fight among the remaining winners. Then, with that big smile on his face, he would say, “I have a theory on how to win.

Another veteran journalist, who also worked as Okada’s reporter for Hanshin and Orix, explained Okada’s “winning theory” to me.

He said, “If you make par, you won’t lose. No one would play ‘chee’ (choki) first, would they?” Then he says, “When you try to win a rock-paper-scissors game, you unconsciously exert yourself, so you play goo. By a process of elimination, it becomes ‘par’ (laughs).”

(Laughs.) People expecting a great theory may be disappointed, but the fact that he does not like to do anything strange is the same as in baseball.

One of the games in which Okada’s keen sense for winning came out in his managerial style was the game against DeNA on April 2, when a two-run lead appeared with two outs in the eighth inning. The opposing pitcher was Escobar, a left-handed pitcher. Escobar, whose pitching becomes unstable when runners are on base, was wary of the legs of Takumu Nakano, the 2009 stolen base champion, who was on first base. After getting a first-pitch strike against Nakano, he threw two ground balls, and just before the third ground ball, Nakano, who had spotted the move, succeeded in stealing second base. Immediately after that, Okada sent Fumihito Haraguchi, the right-handed batter, to bat for him, and he hit a two-run homer with the first pitch into the left field stands. It clinched the victory. The surprise move of sending in a substitute batter in the middle of the count worked perfectly.

In an interview with “Sports Graphic Number” (Bungei Shunju), Okada stated, “The day before, Escobar was good to me.

The day before, I gave Escobar a nice foul fly to third. It wasn’t a bad hit, and the timing was perfect. So I went with Haraguchi without hesitation.”

The day before, he had hit a batter on a foul fly to the same pitcher once again. At first glance, this may appear to be a blunder, but it can be said that Okada’s keen observation, rationale, and the guts to win the game led to the coup de grâce. A veteran journalist noted that “Okada-san’s own father is an Osaka native.

Okada-san’s father was a close friend of Hanshin officials, and he wanted to play for the team if he was going to be a professional baseball player. He was selected by six teams in the draft, and after a lottery, he joined the team he wanted to go to the most, Hanshin. That is how his professional career began and has continued to this day, so he has what it takes.

The reason why the team is leading the division without much change in strength compared to last season is probably because the possessive conduct of the team’s leader has been so brilliant so far. The Hanshin suffered their first three-game losing streak of the season when they lost to Nippon Ham on the 10th, but they snapped their losing streak with a 1-0 win over Tsuyoshi Shinjo’s Nippon Ham on the 11th. Enthusiastic fans must be waiting for the quintessence of the man who has it.

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles