I'm not sure if this is what was handed out to the media the other day, but as best as I can tell, it is (a Japanese version has been published on a number of Japanese news site). And while I could just as easily link to Bobby's blog directly, I thought I'd go ahead and also reproduce the letter here in full.
(If there's a problem with this, please contact me directly and I'll make the necessary changes.)
To the Chiba Lotte Marines Family,
From the moment that I agreed to come back to manage the Chiba Lotte Marines 6 years ago, I have always had two major priorities: to do what is best for the Shigemitsu family, who invited me back with enthusiasm, and to do what is best for the Chiba Lotte Marines. For the first 5 years, thanks to the wonderful support of our fans, players, coaches and support staff it was easy to be passionate and committed to my task as manager.
But this season many people around me and I were presented with a very challenging and confusing situation. Lask week Acting Owner Shigemitsu came to my office and I had a chance to speak privately with him one-on-one for the first time since last July. I thanked him for visiting me and apologized for the poor performance of the team. We reassured each other that our friendship remained the same and I felt grateful for it. And most importantly, I came to feel that for me to leave the team at the end of the 2009 season is best for the Shigemitsu family and for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and so I wanted to make this announcement about the decision as soon as possible.
There might not be words to sufficiently express my love and appreciation for the greatest fans in baseball. You moved me to tears when I was met at the airport in January. You amazed me and the entire baseball world with your petition drive. You inspire me and the players every single game with your banners, songs and your relentless passion and commitment to this team. All of it will be part of me forever. I deeply respect the traditions and culture of Japan. And, especially, my love for Japanese baseball will never fade.
Please view this announcement as my determination to make Chiba Lotte Marines baseball fun once again, for our fans and for each member of the team. I have always felt victory was shallow--and true victory was impossible--if the attempt to gain it was not fun. This year has not been fun for anyone who truly loves the Chiba Lotte Marines, so I will make a renewed effort to make this 2009 season the most fun that it can possibly be, and one that we will all remember and cherish for our lifetimes. To help me with this effort and to inspire the team, I would like you, the greatest fans in the world, to cheer for us more than ever.
LetÂ’s play fun baseball again,
I wonder where Bobby ends up next. Seems like there are plenty of Washington Nationals and New York Mets rumors flying all over the internet right now. I'm still hoping he decides to stay in Japan and try his hand at managing another NPB ball club.