Nakata: “Okay! Good!”
The voice of Shigeo Nagashima, honorary lifetime manager of the Giants, echoes in the indoor practice area of the Giants’ stadium in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. On June 12, Nagashima’s voice echoed through the indoor practice field at the Giants Stadium in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture. On June 12, Nagashima gave one-on-one instruction to Sho Nakata, 33, a long-range gunner who is struggling.
It is no wonder that Mr. Nagashima is so enthusiastic in his coaching. Nakata was demoted to the second team for the second time this season on June 6. However, his condition did not improve, and he was sent to the farm again. His batting average is .215 with five home runs (as of June 12), a continuation of his poor performance last season, when his batting average was in the 10% range.
Nakata is desperate. He has put on about 20 kg this season and is in the best physical condition for the season. When he was with Nippon Ham, he was known as the “general” and had a dynamic personality, but with the Giants he is very quiet, trying to match the team’s color. He obeys the advice of the leadership. This year, he has hardly updated his Instagram, which he used to do every few days when he was with Nichi-Ham. I think he is suffering a lot.
Bunt at the bottom of the batting order
Nakata had been batting fourth in the lineup at Nichi-Ham, but he has moved down in the batting order with the Giants. He was often substituted in at bat, and was sometimes ordered to bunt. However, there was no sign that his form was improving.
Nakata was always on the field, but he was not always in the lineup,” said Mr. Kubota. Nakata is a hitter who is always on the field and gradually picks up the pace. Even if his batting average is not that high, he is a player who bats four or five times in a game and hits long balls in the game. I think it’s hard for him to get on track with substitute hitting.
On the other hand, manager Tatsunori Hara requires hitters to consistently produce results. Hara probably does not fully trust Nakata, who has some rough spots in his hitting. If he can’t get results even as a substitute hitter, he may think that a demotion to the second team is inevitable.
There are other factors that Hara feels Nakata is lacking.
Mr. Hara often says to reporters, ‘Nakata is a gentleman like the Giants. He often says to reporters, ‘A gentlemanly team like the Giants needs a poison. A necessary evil. He is trying to create a chemical reaction by introducing a “foreign element” into the team that doesn’t fit the Giants’ color scheme. One example of this would be the new foreigner with dreadlocks, Walker, who would have been unthinkable in the past.
They must have expected Nakata, the “general,” to play the role of a “foreigner. He was expected to inspire the Giants, who have many serious players, with his words and actions, which can sometimes be seen as selfishness. However, Nakata, who moved to the Giants from Nichi-Ham, has been trying to blend in with the Giants by suppressing his true self, rather than going berserk. In the eyes of manager Hara, Nakata has lost his “personality. It is not surprising that he may feel that he has been a disappointment.
It seems that there is a definite discrepancy between Nakata and Hara. However, Nakata’s transfer to the Giants was based on an assault incident that he himself had committed. It is only natural that he should reflect on his actions and mature, and it may be a bit harsh to ask him to behave the same way he did when he was with Nichi-Ham.
Nakata would never feel at home with the Giants. If he behaves as he should, he will be criticized, and if he stays quiet, he will not gain the trust of the leadership. ……
The best thing for Nakata may be to return to Nichi-Ham. In the stands at the Sapporo Dome on May 28, there were many fans wearing the uniform number “6” that Nakata wore when he was with Nichi-Ham. However, it will not be easy for Nakata to return to the current Nichi-Ham, which has selected young players one after another and is beginning to produce results.
Nakata has pushed himself too hard and has not been able to show his true potential with the Giants. Nakata’s struggles are likely to continue.
Photo: Jiji Press： Jiji Press