...About 4,200 fans were at the Kleenex Stadium public viewing.
...Katsuya Nomura held a final meeting with his players and coaches after the game at the hotel the team was staying at in Sapporo.
"Thank you for letting this poor old manager work for 4 years despite all the embarrassment. Please rise up to the top at some point. This team is heading slowly, but surely, heading in the right direction. Please come through for the passionate Sendai fans."
...Daisuke Kusano, a student of Nomura's, was happy that he was able to make his way near the center of the ring of players when they tossed the manager up into the air.
Said Kusano, "I got pretty close to him. ... It makes me really sad [to see him leave]... But there's nothing that can be done."
...Hisashi Iwakuma on facing Terrmel Sledge:
"If I managed to make it passed Sledge, things may have been different. I was really serious about becoming Nippon Series Champs so I'm very upset / frustrated. I think it's great that I had a chance to work with the manager these last 4 years."
...Masahiro Tanaka on Nomura's last game:
"I went to the bullpen hoping for a victory... I wanted to go to the Nippon Series and play just a few more games with the manager. ... He had a lot of harsh criticism for me but it was those words that made me want to show him that I could do it. I think it was his way of showing he cared about me / us. ... I would like to do my best next season without forgetting what the manager has taught me."
...Katsunori's (battery coach and Nomura's son) comments on Nomura's career coming to an end:
"It was going to end at some point. But this team really got better. I think it's proof of what the manager has done. ... I've been scolded just like the rest of the players while I've been here. Developing a catcher can be difficult . I learned a lot. ... All I can say to him now is, you did a great job."
Nomura's last post-game interview.
A job please!! I'm unemployed beginning tomorrow.
On being eliminated
It was a Second Round filled with mistakes. It's all just regrets. The selection of starters was a mistake. I was unsure about whom to go with. That kind of mistrust makes its way through [to the players]. It's all my fault.
Sponichi has a couple more sentences after this which I've translated below:
I was supposed to make moves that took advantage of my player's skill, but instead I did the opposite. At this age, with all this experience, it's inexcusable. It's [a mistake] beyond apologizing for.
He said he could go. But I also put him in a position he isn't used to (relief) so I think he overthrew. I told the coach to tell him not to throw any fastballs over the plate and to go after the batter with pitches that drop, but he left a fastball in the zone. I also considered an intentional walk, but he said he wanted to challenge Sledge. The outcome was unfortunate. I just need to take responsibility for it.
You scolded the catcher Nakatani in the third inning
I told him he had no baseball instincts. [In the second inning with runners on first and second and no out Koyano aired out a bunt and] neither the base runner nor the batter were running. He could have let the ball drop and gone for a triple play. It isn't about thinking, but feeling. It's not about experience, but gut instinct.
In a short series, a teams strengths really come out. The Nippon Ham Fighters have a very good understanding of baseball. They do the stuff that really annoys the opponents. When you get this far, it isn't necessarily about a difference in strength. It's more mental.
On Nippon Ham Fighters' pitching coach Yoshii and Inaba rushing over to you
I was really grateful. It's more than what a baseball player [like me] deserves. I wished them luck in the Nippon Series. It's fate. It makes me happy to see a person I'm connected to by fate playing so hard. I think people often think about the legacy they will leave behind, I was able to leave behind people (students). Perhaps I was able to to make some sort of contribution to the baseball world.
On being thrown up into the air later on
I thought I didn't want it. It's embarrassing. To lose and to be thrown up in the air.
Any words for the next manager?
I'm no longer in the picture. It's all up to the next manager. It would be inappropriate for me to say something now.
A similar, but perhaps different interview.
Your last game, you get thrown up into the air by both teams and people star to chant your name...
I didn't really want to be thrown up into the air at first. I felt a little embarrassed and shy. I was speechless [when they did it]. The chants were much more than I deserved.
On seeing your students, pitching coach Yoshii and Inaba...
It's fate. And it makes me really happy to see players with fate like that working so hard. We're all judged on our accomplishments. Leaving people (students) behind [as your legacy] is the best. Perhaps I was able to make some sort of contribution to the baseball world.
Your strongest memory over the last 4 years...
This was the year. We finished in second and we made it the Second Round of the Climax Series.
To the fans in Sendai...
I really had this dream to bring the Nippon Series to Sendai. It's too bad I couldn't make good on that dream. I'm sorry.
Have your teachings left an impression with the team?
Maybe not. Taking advantage of situations, reading the situations... The differences in ability show-up in these kinds of big games. The lack of one's ability . It's probably because people slacked off.
If I'm allowed to be a little selfish, I really wanted to manage one more year. I don't feel good about leaving things unfinished. There's a lot of stuff I never got around to doing. I'm certainly not happy and upbeat.
What do you see in the future of Rakuten?
I'm looking forward to watching the poor fellows from the seats behind home plate. [I'm interested in seeing] how the team changes.
Some Nomura quotes from the past 4 years as compiled by Sanspo:
2/3/2006 (on seeing his picture in the paper prior to Spring camp) - I thought I was young but when I saw my picture I saw the face of a 70-year-old man. The camera never lies.
4/9/2006 (post-game interview) - Sorry for all the losing. There will be some good times in the future. You need the bad in order to have the good.
5/1/2007 (on the team losing it's 200th game) - 200 losses? It's going to happen sooner or later. Can't really do much about the different in abilities. The difference in abilities is a difference in money. It's the battle between the rich and the poor.
6/13/2007 (on Tanaka's victory that made Nomura the 5th winningest manager) - I still have a long way before I can beat old man Tsuruoka's win totals, maybe another 40 years. So I need to keep going until I'm 110. I'm going to give it my best.
5/29/2008 (on a game ending with a caught stealing by Yano) - The how stupid rumba. I just don't know. Why did he run? Lately the opposition is losing a lot for us. The Giants play some interesting baseball. Baseball is a really strange sport.
6/29/2008 (on a victory on his 73rd birthday) - My home back in the city was filled with flowers. I'm the world's happiest 73-year-old. They celebrate my birthday and I get to stand on the field doing the baseball work I love.
4/11/2009 (on his 1,500 victory) - If you're play the game long enough, you can rack up a bunch of records. I won't bother with the tough records. Leave the bad records up to me. It's a testimony of my inabilities.
9/5/2009 (on Aoyama falling apart) - Is it too late for Aoyama? To become a celebrity? He's good looking. He's tall and he's got some style, I think he could be a model. I think it's time for a new job.