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  • Oh and Nomura on Hoshino Japan

    Posted by simon c on 2008 August 25日 Monday

    The day after Team Japan failed miserably out of Beijing Olympic baseball competition by losing to the US in the bronze medal game, NPB resumed action after a short 2 day Olympic finals break. But its been rainy lately in Japan, and many games were cancelled, including the first meetup with the Japanesebaseball.com guys we had planned for the Tigers-Swallows game at Jingu Stadium, and the Hawks-Eagles matchup up in Sendai.

    Once the game was officially cancelled at Sendai, Sadaharu Oh went to pay a visit to Katsuya Nomura, both legendary players and managers in NPB history. With the press present, naturally, the talk quickly turned to why manager Senichi Hoshino‘s team failed to even medal, let alone gold.

    Here’s a snippet of their conversation as reported by Sports Hochi.

    Nomura: Olympics was a failure, wasn’t it?

    Oh: Yes, it was disappointing. It’s difficult. One loss means it’s all over.

    Nomura: It’s difficult to select players. The heart of the order, 3-4-5 hitters need to be solid.

    Oh: It’s always difficult for batters when they face new pitchers for the first time. But ours (Tsuyoshi Wada and Toshiya Sugiuchi) got hit pretty hard. (Comment: Wada and Sugiuchi both pitched 2 games each, Wada 4.82 ERA in 9 1/3 IP and Sugiuchi 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 IP, so it was only Wada who got hit moderately hard. Olympic stats here.)

    Earlier before Oh’s visit Nomura had already criticized Hoshino Japan, that the team was “unable to make use of all its data. Totally wasted a good thing there. I thought things got off to a bad start when they chose a group of friends to manage the team (Hoshino is friends with coaches Tabuchi and Yamamoto). Managers who used to be pitchers don’t know what position players go through either.” (Comment: Hoshino pitched for the Dragons, peaking in the 70’s.) Oh also commented on the overall team strengths of Korea, Cuba, and USA.

    Oh: They didn’t swing at any balls. Great plate discipline. Once again, we saw how important great batting eyes are. (Comment: says the man who has NPB leading 2390 career walks and an astounding .446 career OBP. At Beijing Japan only walked 24 times, other teams were Canada 15, Cuba 37, Korea 30, Taiwan 30, and USA 34.)

    Nomura: The batters swing without taking big steps.

    Oh: They wait for the ball, and still get distance on the balls they hit.

    Nomura: Different muscles.

    Oh: It’s difficult for starters to pitch relief. Though, I understand that it’s also difficult to select middle relievers on Team Japan… and on top of that the roster size is only 24 players. (Comment: MLB is 25, while NPB uses a 28 man roster with lots of leeway.)

    Nomura: Kids these days are weak. They have the gall take 10 days off by fouling pitches off themselves. I didn’t want to lose my job, so I even played with broken bones.

    Oh: Well, we are 1st and 2nd in all time games played so we were tough, but there are players who give in easily to pain.

    Nomura: You are a man of integrity. I lack integrity. That there shows up in our difference of 200 homeruns. (Comment: 868 v 657 career homruns for the two living legends.)

    The two talked for 40 minutes, but these were the quotes that made it onto Sports Hochi. World’s homerun king Oh, of course, has also led the champion Team Japan in WBC 2006. And Nomura, the greatest hitting catcher in NPB history, managed Cuban manager at Beijing, Antonio Pacheco, when he played at Shidax in the Japanese industrial leagues. Oh has been to the Japan Series 4 times as manager and won twice, Nomura 5 times and won three times. (Comment: Hoshino has been to the Japan Series 3 times as manager but has never won it.)

    Note: This is not a word for word translation, but I’ll reprint the original article here before it disappears from the archives.

    ノムさん王さん電撃対談…星野JAPANの敗因分析

    8月25日8時0分配信 スポーツ報知

    楽天・野村監督、ソフトバンク・王監督が24日、北京五輪でメダルを逃した星野ジャパンをそろって敗因を分析した。故障者が続出したことについてノムさ んは「メンバー編成が難しい。今の子は痛みに弱いし」とチクリと刺せば、王監督は「キューバ、韓国、アメリカはやっぱりすごい」と冷静に分析。球界の重鎮 にとっても、今回の敗戦は大きな関心事だったようだ。

    Kスタ宮城での楽天・ソフトバンク戦が雨天中止となり、いつものように報道陣の質問を受けている野村監督の元に、王監督があいさつに訪れた。話題が『星野ジャパンについて』と聞くと、王監督も腰を下ろし“緊急対談”となった。

    ノムさん「五輪、ダメだったね」

    王監督「残念でしたね。難しいですよ。1つ負けたらオシマイですから」

    ノムさん「メンバー編成が難しいよ。(打順の)3、4、5番がしっかりしないと」

    王監督「初めての対戦はバッターは難しい。でもウチの(和田、杉内)はよく打たれましたね」

    ノムさんは“対談”の前にも星野ジャパンの問題点を指摘していた。「データが生かし切れなかったんじゃないか。宝の持ち腐れ。仲良しグループ(の首脳 陣)を選んだ時点でダメだと思った。投手出身の監督は野手の気持ちが分からないしな」 一方、王監督は韓国、キューバ、米国の総合力の高さに目を見張っ た。

    王監督「ボール球を振らなかった。見切りがいい。やっぱり大事ですね、選球眼は」

    ノムさん「ステップせずに打つやつばかりやな」

    王監督「引きつけて打って、飛距離も出る」

    ノムさん「筋肉が違うよ」

    王監督「先発が救援するのは難しい。中継ぎ専門を(代表に)選ぶのも難しいですが…それに24人しかいないのも大変」

    ノムさん「今の子は痛みに弱い。自打球で10日も休む。オレは誰にもレギュラーを渡したくないから骨折しても出た」

    王監督「我々は出場試合数が歴代1位と2位ですから頑丈ですが、痛みに弱い選手もいますよ」

    ノムさん「人格者だな。オレは非人格者。その違いが(2人の本塁打の)200本の差だよ」

    約40分間の電撃対談。半世紀にわたって日本プロ野球を支える2人が口にした苦言、提言の根底にあるのは、実力を発揮できなかった日本代表へのもどかしさだったのかもしれない。

    ◆野村、王監督の短期決戦采配メモ 王監督は06年、第1回WBCを指揮して日本を初代王者に導いた。1次リーグで韓国に連敗。一発勝負の厳しさを実感 している。一方、野村監督は02年11月に社会人野球・シダックスの監督に就任。翌年9月、都市対抗野球で準優勝するなどトーナメント大会でも指導力を発 揮した。当時のチームには現キューバ代表監督のパチェコらも在籍。また、両監督の日本シリーズの成績は、王監督は4度の出場で2度、野村監督は5度の出場 で3度、日本一になっている。

    3 Responses to “Oh and Nomura on Hoshino Japan”

    1. Deanna said

      That’s really funny.
      I think if you link the original Hochi article from Hochi instead of Yahoo’s news feed it is likely to stay around a lot longer. Plus it has a great picture to go with it🙂

    2. […] has an interesting snippet of a conversation between NPB legends Sadaharu Oh and Katsuya Nomura, conerning the Japanese […]

    3. Ah, good idea about linking to the original, will do that next time. Thanks Deanna and it was nice meeting you the other day, hopefully there’ll be no rainouts next time!

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