Daily Sports is reporting that Katsuya Nomura recently suggested adding Tatsunori Hara and Hiromitsu Ochiai to the (short) list of potential candidates for WBC Managers. Nomura has something of a bond with Ochiai and some view the two to be from similar schools of thought. And while Nomura feels that Hara may still lack some experience, the fact that he has led the Giants to Central League titles two seasons in a row has gotten his attention.
There was some dialog earlier on (perhaps back in September), about making the manager that won the Nippon Series, manager of the WBC team, but that was ruled out when talks shifted away from asking active managers to participate. After hearing Ichiro's comments, Nomura apparently had a change of mind (or perhaps felt more comfortable letting it out) and now thinks that Hara and Ochiai should also be considered.
With the retirement of Oh, Nomura represents the last "old-school" baseball manager in the NPB. A lot of players and personnel respect him, so a suggestion from him could change things around. Throw in Ichiro's comments and suddenly Hoshino doesn't sound like a guaranteed choice any more.
Nomura also said he didn't think it was necessary to keep the WBC meetings secret. There was a fairly thick veil covering the events of the last meeting (which involved Nomura, Hoshino, Oh, the commissioner, Yakult Swallows manager Shigeru Takada, and Kenjiro Nomura) and Nomura doesn't feel as though such secrecy is warranted and noted that they should be more open to the public with their discussions since, "without the fans, there would be no NPB."
While the issue of who becomes the next manager at the WBC remains a hot topic, one thing is for sure: baseball fans in Japan will be looking forward to hearing what comes out of the next WBC Organizational meetings.
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