Shinnosuke Abe, the new manager of the Giants, “has a photo of an error in his locker. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shinnosuke Abe, the new manager of the Giants, “has a photo of an error in his locker.

Shinnosuke Abe, who has held down the regular catcher's position with the Giants, has been chosen as the new manager of the Giants. Here are some of the things he said in an exclusive interview that reveal the true face of the new manager.

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Shinnosuke Abe was born in Chiba Prefecture in 1979. After graduating from Yasuda Gakuen High School in Tokyo and Chuo University, he joined the Giants in 2001. Hit 2,000 homers in 2005.

Next year, I would like to go by “Abe” instead of “Ale.

Shinnosuke Abe, 44, who took over the Giants’ leadership from Tatsunori Hara, drew laughter from the press at his inaugural press conference held on October 6 at the Yomiuri Shimbun Building (Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo) by quoting a popular word used by Hanshin’s winning manager Akifu Okada.

The Giants have failed to advance to the postseason after finishing in the B class for two consecutive years. The Giants are in a transitional period of generational change, and some are concerned that the team will stagnate from here on out. However, Abe said, “Manager Hara told me with a smile that he was happy with Shinnosuke. That made me decide.

At times, he would say, “It’s not about technique! It’s physical strength and guts! Don’t be weak-kneed! He is said to be feared by the players. He has his own view of baseball and leadership theory in his mind. FRIDAY” often interviewed Abe in his active days in its February 17, 2012 and July 20, 2012 issues. We would like to recount Abe’s comments and reflect on his little-known “philosophy” in his own words (some parts of the contents have been modified).

Don’t look down!

I believe that mistakes are things that must not be forgotten. If you don’t reflect on them, there is no progress. That’s why I have a lot of pictures of my errors in my locker. Looking at them every day helps me remember my regrets.

These are Abe’s words from an interview in the July 20, 2012 issue of this magazine. In 2001, he was drafted first overall by the Giants out of Chuo University, and in 2012 he won both the top batting title (.340 batting average) and the batting title (104 runs batted in). He became the third catcher, after Katsuya Nomura and Koichi Tabuchi, to hit over 400 homers in a season.

Abe, who was the captain of the Giants for eight years from 2007 and left a great mark, had a surprising ideal image as a leader.

My ideal captain is someone who keeps looking forward. Even when we are losing a game, he says, “Don’t look down! Let’s go! even when losing a game. Specifically, the captain is like Kenji Takizawa, played by Shinji Yamashita in “School Wars” (a hot-blooded rugby drama that dominated the 80’s). I am going to encourage my teammates with my face flushed with full-blown enthusiasm.

As a captain, he had a strong sense of responsibility.’ When he was told that he would not be a starter due to poor performance in August 2011, he took an unexpected action.

It was after practice for a visiting game in Hiroshima, I think. I asked the staff to buy me a pair of clippers, and I cut myself a close-cropped head in the bathroom of my hotel room. I was really excited about it, so I said, “Let’s just do it. After that, it became a boom within the team.

Abe was repeatedly advised to convert to first base so that he could concentrate on his specialty of hitting, but he remained committed to the catcher’s position.

During a game, a catcher is constantly thinking about what to have the pitcher throw next or what the hitter’s best pitch is,” he said. Other positions might think, “Oh, it’s a beautiful day,” or “The seats are empty today,” but catchers don’t have that kind of time. But a catcher doesn’t have that kind of time. I am suited to a position where I can get deep into the game.

Abe’s last wish as an active baseball player was to “become the number one player in Japan once again. As manager of the Giants, he will now begin his journey toward realizing his dream.

  • PHOTO Shinji Hamasaki

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