I don’t understand”… Ochiai’s criticism of Shinjo is too surprising. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

I don’t understand”… Ochiai’s criticism of Shinjo is too surprising.

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Ochiai gives a prick to Shinjo (Image: Kyodo News)

I feel sorry for the players. The players are playing to win a championship. They are working hard to raise their salaries. If you put a stop to that, they won’t be motivated. I couldn’t understand it.”

Former Chunichi manager Hiromitsu Ochiai, 68, criticized Nippon Ham manager Takeshi Shinjo, 50, during the March 6 open game between Nippon Ham and the Giants. Ochiai, who was commentating on TV, responded to Shinjo’s comment, “I’m not aiming for a championship,” by saying, “Blackmail! The first time he did this, he was a bit surprised.

He also mentioned the fact that the regulars are not fixed and the starting lineup changes on a daily basis.

Ummm…. The mainstays of the team will start to come out soon. If a regular player is removed from the starting lineup at the beginning of the season, there is no reason to distrust him.

He chided. He pointed out that the coach’s performance is more noticeable than that of the players.

He said, “He’s the director, so he should do as he likes. That’s all I can say. You want to do something that no one has done before. The only thing you can do is to evaluate the results at the end of the season. Until then, you can do whatever you want.

An unexpected common denominator between the two

Mr. Ochiai with his wife Nobuko (right) after winning his second triple crown in 1985 (he was with Lotte at the time).

The comments seem a bit dismissive and cold. Perhaps Mr. Ochiai does not like Shinjo? However, some point out that the two have much in common.

Both Shinjo and Ochiai had no formal professional coaching experience, and when they took over as managers, there were many who questioned whether they could handle the job. The bright Shinjo and the taciturn Ochiai, with their unique theories, are different types of manager, but their preliminary reviews were not very high. Ochiai overturned this low opinion and took over as manager of Chunichi in 2004, and the team suddenly won the league championship. Shinjo, too, may have been a ………

They are similar in that they take outlandish actions that surprise those around them. When Mr. Ochiai took over as manager, he held an unusual red-and-white game on the first day of camp. He selected Kenjiro Kawasaki, who had not pitched a game or even taken the mound for the first team for three years until the previous year, to be the opening day pitcher. After that, he also switched the positions of Masahiro Araki and Hirokazu Ibata, who were said to be the two steadfast pitchers, a move that astonished the fans, a move that must have been shared by Shinjo.

What is the true meaning of Ochiai’s “criticism of Shinjo”? …… It seems that there is a surprising message behind it.

It was a pep talk. I think Mr. Ochiai appreciates Shinjo, who is not bound by conventional wisdom. Mr. Ochiai ignores people he does not approve of. Even when he leaves a discourse, it is a simple word or two. On the other hand, he makes a comment to those who have high expectations of him, as if he had shunned them once.

According to a nonfiction book about Mr. Ochiai, “The Director I Hated,” in order to improve Masahiko Morino’s defensive abilities, which he wanted him to develop into a mainstay, he gave him the following advice. When you think you have reached your limit, take off your glove. If you take it off, I won’t knock it off any more. That’s the signal for the end. These were his words to Ibata, who had been changed to a different position. Even if the coach doesn’t like you, be the kind of player he has to use.

At first glance, he is looking at the reaction of the other players with a cold tone. Morino and Ibata were both inspired by Ochiai’s words and became first-class players. It is a sign of his high expectations that he goes so far as to make in-depth comments to Director Shinjo. He is in the media every day now, but I felt that it was a message from Mr. Ochiai saying, ‘Don’t get carried away.

Mr. Ochiai threw the ball to Shinjo. What will the big boss make of the “hated manager’s” scathing critique?

Mr. Ochiai was lifted up after winning the Asia Series in 2007.
  • Photo Kyodo News Agency Jiji Press Reuters/Afro

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