Ichiro and Hideki Matsui’s names are mentioned… Samurai Japan “still can’t decide on a new manager even two months before the first game! Special Circumstances | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ichiro and Hideki Matsui’s names are mentioned… Samurai Japan “still can’t decide on a new manager even two months before the first game! Special Circumstances

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Shohei Ohtani’s pitching and hitting were essential to the WBC’s first world championship in 14 years (PHOTO: AP/Afro)

Shohei Ohtani, who pitched in the WBC, said, “The next generation has to do it. I think I have to do something else.”

Former Samurai Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama, who attended a Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) event in Chiba on September 16, denied being asked by reporters about “pitching again. He stated, “I don’t have to think about it (reappearing).

Six months after winning the world championship at the WBC in March, the Asian Professional Baseball Championship in November will be the first game for the new Samurai Japan manager. But even two months ago, a new leader had not been chosen.

Various names have been mentioned as candidates for the new manager. Kimiyasu Kudo, who won five Japan championships with Softbank; Shihito Iguchi, who has played in Japan and the United States and led Lotte; and Yoshinobu Takahashi, who was the mainstay of the Giants for nearly 20 years. …… Ichiro and Hideki Matsui, who have proven themselves in the majors, were also reported to be candidates, but none of them have been confirmed.

Immediately after Kuriyama’s resignation, NPB Director-General Atsushi Ihara said, “We will establish a (new) system by the end of August. However, the names of candidates for a new manager have come and gone, and the selection process has been delayed until late September.

The new manager will serve a three-year term until the next WBC in the spring of 2014. During this period, his activities will be considerably restricted, such as not being able to become a professional baseball manager. It is a high hurdle for a candidate to make a decision.

The pressure to be the world’s best again

Restrictions on activities are not the only reason why it is difficult to select a new manager. There are two special circumstances that place more pressure on the next leader.

The first is the atmosphere in which the team deserves to be the world’s number one again after its dramatic victory in the WBC in March. Second, Shohei Ohtani of the Angels is undergoing surgery for a right elbow injury. The second is the status of Shohei Otani of the Angels, who is undergoing surgery on his right elbow injury.

One theory is that one of the reasons for Ohtani’s injury was his participation in the WBC. It is said that playing as hard as he could before the start of the major league season took a heavy toll on his body. Otani, who will become an FA after the end of this season, is likely to move to another team. Even if Otani wishes to participate in the WBC, his new team may say ‘no’ in consideration of his physical condition.

Without Otani, the centerpiece of the pitching and hitting staff, it will be difficult to win back-to-back championships, which is what fans are hoping for. It is understandable that the candidates are hesitant to appoint a new manager because they dislike the pressure and the difficult leadership required of them.

If Kuriyama, who has delighted Japan, continues as manager, the fans will be convinced that it can’t be helped if the team fails to win back-to-back championships. However, Kuriyama has denied that he will pitch again. The selection process for the new manager will be even more difficult.

There is little time left. Who will be able to wipe out the negative factors and come forward as the new manager?

  • AP/Afro

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