The Japanese baseball team “Samurai Japan” won the 5th World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, regaining the world championship for the first time in 14 years. The selection of a successor to Hideki Kuriyama, 62, who retired at the end of May with the world championship in hand, has become increasingly confusing.
In late June, some sports newspapers reported that former Softbank manager Kimiyasu Kudo would be selected as the new manager, but the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) has consistently denied this. The NPB sent a letter of protest to the sports paper and banned it from issuing IDs for the July 19 and 20 All-Star games. After negotiations, the ban was lifted with a drastic reduction in the number of IDs issued on the condition that the sports paper submit a written report.
Another sports paper reporter revealed, “In reality, Mr. Kudo is a candidate.
Another sports newspaper reporter revealed, “Actually, it is not clear whether Kudo was even on the list of candidates or not. The NPB’s selection of candidates has been a difficult process.
The NPB is emphasizing a generational shift in the selection of candidates, focusing on those in their 40s and 50s. Since the Yomiuri Shimbun is involved in the management of Samurai Japan, some reporters have advocated the “return to Samurai Japan” of Tatsunori Hara, the manager of the Yomiuri Giants, as a person related to the Yomiuri Giants, a group company. However, as a matter of fact However, as a matter of fact, the current NPB manager is not on the list of candidates, as it would be difficult for him to serve as the current manager of the Giants.
The reporter then mentioned the name of a surprising person.
Daisuke Matsuzaka’s name has emerged as a candidate.
Why? Another sports newspaper desk clerk explained, “Daisuke Matsuzaka has an outstanding track record as a player.
He has an outstanding track record as a player, won MVPs in the first and second WBCs, participated in the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004, and has a stronger feeling for the national team than anyone else.
At an event he attended at the end of May, Kuriyama avoided specifics about the next manager , saying, “I think the next manager that everyone wants and really wants will be the one to take over. In a recent appearance on the Internet broadcast “ABEMA,” “Weekly Buchidan SP,” he said to the celebrity Takaaki Ishibashi, “I think everyone would like to see a new wind,” and “I really learned a lot this time. I learned a lot about negotiating and shaping people, so I really think it would be better for baseball in Japan if younger people take this job.
Matsuzaka, now 42 years old, fits the bill perfectly in terms of age. Although he has no coaching experience, Hiroki Kokubo (current SoftBank second team manager), who took charge of the fourth tournament, and Atsunori Inaba, who led Japan to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2009, also took over without having coached in the NPB. Past examples show that coaching experience is not so important.
Will the monster of the Heisei era don the uniform of the national team and join Shohei Ohtani (Angels) and his teammates in their quest to win back-to-back WBC championships?