Sponichi: The season has even started and already there are rumors about who might be replacing Bobby Valentine next season. Former Lotte Marine pitcher Tomohiro Kuroki is being tossed around as a potential candidate. Kuroki is fairly popular amongst the fans and could be an interesting choice to replace an equally popular Valentine.
But a few things to keep in mind: he just recently retired (last season was in 2007), has absolutely no managing experience, and worked with Nippon Broadcasting in 2008 as part of the editorial staff for baseball play-by-play on the radio.
Kuroki has been hired on to be a commentator by Nippon Broadcasting for the 2009 season.
Sponichi: Miyagi loves Katsuya Nomura. The Miyagi politicians and finance personnel are hoping that Nomura decides to stick around as manager of the Rakuten Eagles for a little while longer.
When Nomura first took over the Eagles in 2006, he apparently help bring in 9.7B yen to Miyagi region. That rose to 12.9B yen the following season. His popularity has helped increase Miyagi's visibility all across Japan so it's only natural they'd want him back.
Nomura has really become the face of the franchise. And I'd have to agree that losing him would be a huge loss for the Eagles AND the Tohoku region.