Yano retires…Hanshin’s next manager candidate “Unexpected big names and barriers to realization”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yano retires…Hanshin’s next manager candidate “Unexpected big names and barriers to realization”.

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Director Yano “says good-bye” after this season. Various names have been suggested as candidates to replace him (Image: Jiji Press)

The gap between the top and the bottom of the table has widened by about 10 games, and the team’s debt has ballooned to double digits. ……

In last place Hanshin, in a slump, has almost no chance of winning the championship before summer arrives.

There is hardly any bright news,” he said. The talk is exclusively about next season’s manager. Just before the start of camp this spring, Yohdai Yano announced to the players that he would resign at the end of the season. It is a foregone conclusion that he will step down.

Despite the team’s slump, Yano has developed his own mentality. He is committed to the idea of “celebrating in advance in anticipation of the fulfillment of a dream,” and high-fives his players before games. The players are just perplexed,” said a source close to the team.

The team has already named a specific alumnus as a candidate for manager.

The real contender is Akifumi Okada, who won the championship as manager in 2005 and can formulate a precise strategy based on data. He is also said to be full of enthusiasm. The only drawback is that he speaks out clearly even to the front office. Hanshin executives have traditionally played it safe and disliked trouble. They may not respect Mr. Okada, who expresses his opinions on organization and other matters.

Masayuki Kakefu, who was manager of the second team until 2005, is next in the list. He had a good reputation among the players for his soft coaching with the motto, “Develop your strengths. However, he did not get along with then 1st team manager Tomonori Kanemoto, who was a strict coach, and left the position as if he had voluntarily resigned. Since then, he has been a difficult person to deal with in the team.

Spoiled by Top Attendance

Among the younger players, Fujikawa and Toritani have also come up.

Both are relatively young, in their early 40s, and could freshen up the team’s image. But they have no formal coaching experience. But they have no formal coaching experience, so it may be difficult for them to suddenly become the first team manager.

Even with poor results, Hanshin’s attendance is the highest among the 12 teams, averaging about 36,000 per game. There is a mindset within the team that “It’s OK because we have a good turnout. In order to break through this complacency and drastically change the atmosphere, there are strong opinions that relying on alumni is not the way to go. There is even talk of bringing in an unexpected bigwig from the outside.

Mr. Hiromitsu Ochiai, who was manager of Chunichi for eight years from 2004 and won four league championships and one Japan championship. Hanshin has a track record of inviting managers from outside, including Senichi Hoshino and Katsuya Nomura. However, both have passed away, and Mr. Ochiai is the only one who can wield the big sword today. Mr. Ochiai is not bound by stereotypes and does not hesitate to use any means necessary to win. As a “manager who is willing to be hated,” I believe that he will transform the current stagnant Hanshin team.

The question is whether or not the team, which has a strong tendency to be reserved, will accept Mr. Ochiai, since even Mr. Okada, an alumnus of the team, is allergic to him because of his outspokenness. The key point will be the general shareholders’ meeting of the parent company, Hankyu Hanshin Holdings, to be held in June. If the shareholders ask tough questions about the Tigers’ stagnation, the team will have no choice but to seriously start reforms. I believe that the birth of the “Ochiai Hanshin” will become a reality.

There is no question that drastic changes are needed to reborn the “Bad Tigers. Will the team be able to entrust the “hated manager” with a major role?

  • Photo: Jiji Press, Inc. Jiji Press

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