10% Winning Rate of Nippon-Ham Affects Director Shinjo Positive Actions and Behavior | FRIDAY DIGITAL

10% Winning Rate of Nippon-Ham Affects Director Shinjo Positive Actions and Behavior

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Shinjo’s greatest appeal is his cheerfulness.(Image: Kyodo News)

Looking back, when Nippon Ham beat Seibu 6-2 on March 31 for their first win of the season, the big boss (manager Tsuyoshi Shinjo, 50) was very outspoken and proud.

After the game, the crowd behind the benches went wild and it was like we had won the league championship. I’m glad the fans wanted this one win! Well, I would have liked a little more drama. I love the story of losing a lot and then turning it over at the end.  Maybe we could have lost five more.”

Unfortunately, after 10 games, this was their only match where they won: as of April 5, they are 1-9, in last place with a winning percentage of 10%. The team’s .192 batting average and 4.39 goals-against average are both the worst in the league, and there have been four complete games. There are worrisome signs.

When the team lost its fifth straight game on March 30, Shinjo’s post-game comments were getting shorter and lesser, now his post is just “Tomorrow!”.  When the team suffered its third consecutive loss against the Orix on April 4, he did not respond to media interviews, saying, “That’s what happens when you make a lot of mistakes. It’s going to be like this from now on.

The problems pointed out are in pitching and hitting. Let’s start with how pitchers are used.

The first problem is the way pitchers are used. “The 8th overall pick in the draft, newcomer Koki Kitayama, was used as the starting pitcher, and the pitcher who was scheduled to start the next day was used as a reliever. It sounds unique but the pitchers are not happy. They don’t know when they will be called upon to pitch, and they can’t rest physically or mentally. They can’t stay focused. It is no wonder that the pitchers are dissatisfied with the way they are being used. Pitching coach Masaru Takeda is working very hard to calm them down.

Great performance in the opening, but  the starting lineup was confusing.

The batting order also changes daily and is not fixed. The starting lineup is announced just before the game starts.

Manager Shinjo says he wants everyone to have the hope of starting, but so far this has backfired. There is less awareness of the roles of each member of the batting order and a lack of connection. Most of the runs scored have been home runs, and there have been no timely hits.

The players must be feeling a bit confused. Nakamasa Mannami, who hit five home runs in the opening game, was not a starter for the season opener, and Kotaro Kiyomiya, who did not hit a single home run in the second game, was selected as the fourth starter. I am worried that the players will lose motivation, saying, ‘Even if we produce results, there is no point in appealing to the coach if he is the only one who knows the plan.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Shinjo’s words and actions are also a concern. His positive attitude has been toned down as the team keeps on losing. In response to Hanshin alumni Yasushi Tao, Yoshiaki Oka, and Keiichi Yabu, who criticized his coaching in the video, Shinjo took his comment to his Instagram and said, “I feel sorry for these three people”

It was the sales department of Nippon-Ham’s headquarters that wanted Shinjo appointed as manager. They hoped that Shinjo’s cheerfulness would improve the team’s image, which had been tarnished by the Sho Nakata assault incident. It is clear that the team has lost its top player, Nakata, and ace Kohei Arihara over the past few years, and is significantly inferior to other teams in terms of strength. The baseball team admits that it would be good if Manager Shinjo would not ask for too many results, but rather have him bring in customers and analyze the team’s strength throughout the year. The game will be decided next season, when the “New Fighters” will start in the new stadium.

The question is whether or not Shinjo himself will be able to say, “This season is a tryout year,” and “We will not aim for the championship,” as he said. He will have to remain positive and be open to criticism from both inside and outside the team. He has a record of declaring his retirement right after the season opener because he did not perform as well as he wanted to during his active days. Manager Shinjo has a moody side. Everyone is worried that he will lose his temper at the criticism and throw the towel and say, ‘I give up.’

Even with consecutive losses, Big Boss is positive, saying, “From now on” and “Tomorrow.” I hope he can stay positive throughout the season. ……

  • Photo Kyodo News

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