Former Seibu Lions Manager Kazuo Matsui Cites Issues with Interpersonal Relationships as Unexpected Reason for Taking Break | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Seibu Lions Manager Kazuo Matsui Cites Issues with Interpersonal Relationships as Unexpected Reason for Taking Break

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On May 26, due to the team’s poor performance, Seibu Lions Manager Matsui responded to interviews. PHOTO: Kyodo News Agency

On May 26, the Seibu Lions announced that Manager Kazuo Matsui (48) would take a leave of absence, with GM Hisanobu Watanabe (58) assuming the role of interim manager starting from the interleague games. “It could be called a sudden dismissal,” some have said.

“There are criticisms that it’s too early with a record of 15 wins and 30 losses in May, but rather, the impression is that it’s too late.” (Team Insider)

What could that mean?

“There have been evaluations that he treated players fairly and respectfully since his days as a minor league manager, and that might indeed be the case, but he didn’t have a good reputation from the organization. It seems like he couldn’t build a trusting relationship on a regular basis, and there was a feeling that he didn’t show much respect, especially towards people in suits,” (same source).

Could this mean there was a difference in how he interacted with players versus others?

“Those who wear suits are the ones who hold the power of personnel decisions or have close relationships with such people, but it seems they had a low opinion of him. There weren’t voices trying to support Matsui as a man or encouraging support during the team’s slump. Essentially, he may have been isolated and unsupported,” (same source).

Ultimately, GM Watanabe took over the remaining responsibilities.

“It’s been quite some time since he left the field, but there aren’t any other candidates, so this personnel decision was inevitable. There’s also the history of bringing Matsui in as manager. It seems Matsui himself didn’t anticipate taking a break, but on the flip side, there’s a possibility that the organization made it clear to GM Watanabe that Matsui continuing as manager was absolutely out of the question,” (same source).

Seibu has been facing a situation where they’ve been consistently losing key players like their ace pitcher and cleanup hitter, almost becoming their trademark.

“Since 2018, we’ve lost players like Eito Asamura, Ginjiro Sumitani (who returned in ’24), Yusei Kikuchi, Shogo Akiyama, Tomoya Mori, and Hotaka Yamakawa. It’s unfortunate for Manager Matsui that this year, the team didn’t come together in terms of strength, and the newly acquired players didn’t perform as expected,” (same source).

If Matsui’s support rate had been a bit higher, perhaps there could have been consideration for bringing in new talent. Perhaps, fundamentally, the declaration of taking a break wouldn’t have occurred.

While not necessarily harboring resentment, this episode underscores the importance of interpersonal relationships.

  • PHOTO Kyodo News

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