I have transcribed Tsuyoshi Nishioka's speech from the other day as best I could. Here it is:
What follows now, is my translation of it:
Well, including myself, the players have really worked hard this year.
When I joined Lotte I fell in love with this team because of the cheering fans.
But the right stand has been pretty critical and has hoisted up a number of different kinds of banners.
I feel we [the players] are responsible for putting the team into such a situation [that would merit that kind of behavior].
Today I think a lot of little leaguers are in the stands watching the game.
They watch each of us play. I'm sure there are even players that these kids want to emulate.
And these kids will grow up hearing sounds from the stands and grow to adults to one day play on these fields.
Please don't take away their dreams.
My performance this year has not been good, so maybe I don't have a right to say this, but as one human being to another, I think there are times we make mistakes and as a player, each of us has to re-think things through to help make this team strong once again.
And for that to happen, the cheering fans are going to be important.
If you really love Lotte, I please ask that you take down the banners for tomorrow's game and also look forward to hearing your support again.
There are two things I think one needs to take into consideration here:
- The kids in the stands really are the innocent ones. Some of them may know about how horribly the front office treated one of their greatest managers of all time, but I'm guessing most are just out at the ballpark enjoying the game. Why drag them into it? What's the purpose?
- I don't know if Nishioka speaks for ALL Lotte players, but remember, perspectives are different. The Ouendan in the right field stands may not have hoisted all those banners in attempt to also put down the players, but they aren't the players so they can't dictate how the players are supposed to feel when they see the banners.
Most of these players are also stuck playing for the Marines. Imagine if you went into work one day and there were a bunch of people protesting your company, BUT YOU WERE REQUIRED TO WORK THERE. What would you do? Honestly? If your only choice was to either quit the job you were doing (for good, no going to another company) or continuing to work, which would you choose? And despite how bad company policy is, don't you think it would get old after a while to see people protesting with negative signs every day? And then what if your kids see those signs? How might they react to what your working there?
I'm certainly not trying to take sides here. And I'm definitely NOT trying to make the front office look good. If you go back and read all my posts about Bobby Valentine, you'll see I'm quite anti-front office when it comes to the Marines.
I'm also not trying to pass judgment on the Ouendan. I hate when people do that to me, so I'm not about to try and do it to someone else.
What I guess I'm trying to do is maybe explain why Nishioka said what he did. I guess there's no reason for me to defend him. I'm not really a fan of his. I also don't know what kind of history the fans have with Nishioka, so I don't know if there's some sort of underlying point I'm missing, but based only on what I know, the last 2 days at Chiba Marine Stadium...
Is this really how fans want to remember Valentine's last few games at Chiba Marine Stadium?
There's only one more home game left on the schedule. Hopefully that game focuses more on celebrating what Valentine accomplished with the Marines and not on what the front office has or hasn't done.
After all, it's Bobby V's last official home game.