Chunichi’s Decline: Blamed on Opportunistic Leadership and a Cabinet of Friends | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Chunichi’s Decline: Blamed on Opportunistic Leadership and a Cabinet of Friends

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Last season, despite experiencing the humiliation of finishing last for two consecutive years, Chunichi played a leading role in the race for the top spot from the opening month of this season. However, since then, they have faltered, currently settling for the familiar position of the B class. A team official said that first-team head coach Atsushi Kataoka, 54, is concerned about the lack of functionality.

Chunichi continues to be plagued by a lack of scoring power as usual. While their pitching staff remains solid.

Despite being classmates with PL Gakuen, where he played, Manager Kazuyoshi Tatsunami (54) has been leading the second team of Chunichi until last year. However, his coaching style was said to strongly evoke the scent of guts baseball. Although he has coaching experience with Hanshin, he is sometimes ridiculed by other teams as having few coaching tricks. In other teams, players often ask the head coach about the manager’s thoughts or seek advice after the game, but such scenes are not commonly seen in Chunichi.

Still, if Manager Tatsunami could leverage his past struggles to make brilliant strategic decisions, it would be great. However, a former team member chuckles and says, “There’s no sign of that at all.” 

“Manager Nagashima’s ad hoc decisions haven’t changed. If there were a staff member playing the role of a counselor, they might be able to advise the manager and correct the course, but since he’s on good terms with Head Coach Kataoka, it’s like a friendly cabinet (laughs). One player joked, ‘Manager Nagashima is the Reiwa Intuition Computer.’ It’s fine if it works, but if his intuition goes awry, it’s all over. There have been reports that he’s been advised by supporters to maintain a calm demeanor compared to last year and reduce excessive movements. But how long will this last?”

The original Intuition Computer was Shigeo Nagashima, the current honorary manager for life of the Giants, who led the team during its consistent presence in the A class. Manager Nagashima’s dramatic decisions hitting the mark could lead to a Chunichi version of the Miracle of Meikyu.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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