Chiben Wakayama, Kokugakuin Kugayama, Chiba Meitoku, and Takamatsu Commercial. ……
It’s already been two and a half years since he announced his retirement in March of 2007. On December 18, he played against a select team of women’s hardball players at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, where he was familiar with from his old team Orix. On December 18, she played against a women’s hardball team at Hotto Motto Field Kobe, where she was used to playing for her old team Orix.
She said, “My movements were on par with my active days. I heard that he has been working out stoically since he retired. At his home in Seattle, he has a complete set of training equipment, including muscle training machines, and he still trains every day.
Ichiro has shown an extraordinary enthusiasm for teaching his students. At his retirement press conference, he said, “As of today, I am the former Ichiro. At his retirement press conference, he said, “As of today, I am the former Ichiro. （In December 2007, he attended a training session to regain his student baseball eligibility, and in February 2008, his student baseball eligibility was approved. In December 2007, he attended a training session to regain his student baseball eligibility.)
Making “Raoh” the homerun king
Ichiro has been busy teaching students. But it’s not just high schools that are looking at him. Professional baseball teams are also paying attention.
The Orix, Ichiro’s old team, is also paying attention. In the last years of Ichiro’s active career, Orix made a secret request for him to come back to their club. Ichiro was worried that his opportunities to play were decreasing and that he would not be able to maintain his concentration unless he played all the time. He also said he wanted to give back to Kobe, the city that had nurtured him for so long. Orix promised to make him a regular player and offered him an annual salary of 1 billion yen. In the end, Ichiro chose to finish his career in the majors. ……
Although Ichiro was not able to return to his old home, the relationship between the two was always good. Orix continued to use Ichiro in their commercials and lent him free of charge their sub-franchise “Hotto Motto Field Kobe” for his annual training in January. Yutaro Sugimoto, a.k.a. “Raoh,” the main gun, has been an apprentice to Ichiro for three consecutive years since 2004. This season, his talent blossomed and he won the homerun king.
The interaction is not limited to the players. Yoshihiko Miyauchi, the owner of the team, has dinner with Ichiro every time he returns to Japan. Yoshihiko Miyauchi, the owner of Orix, has had meals with Ichiro every time he returns to Japan, and once told him that he would like him to come back. Will Orix’s enthusiasm reach Ichiro?
Realistically, it will be very difficult. Even now, Ichiro is with the Mariners. He has a position as ‘special assistant to the president and instructor. Even if he were to teach players privately, such as at a voluntary training session in January, it would be difficult for him to become a coach or manager.
It is also worrisome that his connection with Orix is getting thinner and thinner every year. He made a surprise appearance at the retirement ceremony for Seibu’s Daisuke Matsuzaka, but was nowhere to be seen at the Japan Series between Orix and Yakult. He only made a congratulatory comment when the team won the league championship,” said a sports journalist.
There are few players in the current Orix team who have seen Ichiro in action in Japan. I wonder when the legend will wear a professional baseball uniform.
Photo： Kyodo News