His Transfer Shocked His Wife ! “The Strain and Stress of His Time at Seibu” That Made Tetsuya Utsumi — Giants’ New First-unit Pitching Coach | FRIDAY DIGITAL

His Transfer Shocked His Wife ! “The Strain and Stress of His Time at Seibu” That Made Tetsuya Utsumi — Giants’ New First-unit Pitching Coach

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Tetsuya Utsumi has been appointed as the Giants’ first-arm pitching coach

Tetsuya Utsumi (41) will return to the Giants after a five-year absence.

The Giants announced their coaching staff for next season on October 16. Utsumi, who was the second-team pitching coach for Seibu this season, was brought in as the first-team pitching coach. He will support new manager Shinnosuke Abe (44), with whom he worked as a battery for many years, including winning the best battery award in his active career in 2012.

Last September, Utsumi bid farewell to his 19-year career, and Abe wrote in a farewell letter to the Sports Hochi (distributed September 20, 2010).

Utsumi is similar to me in that he doesn’t have much sense (laughs). I think he thought that since he had no sense, he had to make up for it through hard work. He thought that the only way to catch up was through sheer volume.

Is it something you are told to do, or is it something you realize you have to do? Utsumi realized this himself at a young age, and because he felt that this was not good enough, he practiced more than anyone else and gradually became proficient. It is not something that can be taught, but he had that kind of hidden fighting spirit from the very beginning.

As Abe says, Utsumi is a “man of hard work” who is recognized by all. He is also known as an “indefatigable man with a passion for humanity. On December 20, 2006, Utsumi was informed by a team official that he would be transferred to Seibu. In an interview with “FRIDAY” (February 15, 2007 issue), he described the situation at that time as follows.

When I told my wife (Mrs. Satoko) about the transfer at home, she was speechless. (omission) My wife also has a strong attachment to the Giants, so she must have been shocked when it became a reality. I told her, ‘Even if I wanted to stay with the Giants, it is no longer possible, so let’s think positively.

“On the day the transfer was announced, I went to the Giants’ team office to say goodbye, and many people gathered to see me. I was so happy to be able to play for the Giants. I was so sad to leave the team I had played for for so many years, rather than frustrated, that I couldn’t stop the tears from spilling down my face. I couldn’t say goodbye to them because of that. Thanks to that, I couldn’t greet him properly.”

Many Seibu fans, not just Giants fans, were touched by Utsumi’s humane episode, and everyone wished him well in his new position. However, in the four years between his transfer and retirement, he won only two games and lost three. He was not able to achieve a satisfactory performance. In an interview in the December 16, 2010 issue of this magazine, he described his feelings during that period as follows.

After moving to Seibu, I spent most of my time on the farm, so I wondered what would happen if I were suddenly sent to the first team under such circumstances. I get that nervous and stressful feeling every time when a rookie pitches in the first game. But I am not a rookie. The customers are cheering me on, thinking of me in my prime. I was almost crushed by that pressure every time.

I have been like that for four years. I want to live up to expectations. But my body and mind were not up to it. I was filled with frustration. Even so, I tried not to be happy or sad about the situation I was in. I tried to spend each day in a positive manner. In bad times, I would watch my feet and do what I could do. That is what I always tried to do. I never gave up, and I think it was a good experience for me to think about all the things I could do to survive.

Based on your experience, what do you have to say to the players?

I want to be a coach who can push hard-working athletes further, and I want to support athletes who are struggling so that I can guide them in the right direction as a guidepost.

I want to support players who are struggling. Immediately after the announcement of his transfer to Seibu,

“I want to become one or two times bigger so that I can come back to the Giants.”

I want to become a better player and come back to the Giants. How will he lead the players in the right direction? I have high expectations for him.

First Practice Scene at the Ground of the Seibu Lions (Feb. 15, ’19 issue)
Utsumi at practice for the first time at the Seibu Lions field (February 15, ’19 issue)
Utsumi said, “I cried when I was told I would be transferred to the Seibu Lions.”
Utsumi shows a fresh smile in an interview when he became the pitching coach of the Seibu Lions’ second team after his retirement (December 16, 2022 issue).
Interview when he was appointed as the Seibu Lions’ second army pitching coach (December 16, ’22 issue)
  • PHOTO Shinji Hamasaki (1st, 5th, 6th), En Aida (2nd to 4th)

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