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Yusei Kikuchi Upates from 10/26/2009

by on Oct.26, 2009 @ 11:18 am, under High School

A Sponchi article quotes someone connected to the Kikuchi talks as saying, "If he decided to go to the Majors, Hanamaki Higashi would likely have a lot of enemies in Japan."

The article also mentions that:

Hanamaki Higashi and others connected to the talks received letters criticizing the whole concept of Kikuchi starting his career in the US

People were leaving negative comments about Kikuchi at online community sites

Kikuchi was worried about whether or not fans in Japan would continue to support him if he were to go to the Majors

Every NPB club was pushing the whole, "Start your career in the NPB first" line

100 reporters and 12 TV cameras were present at the press conference.


Sponichi is carrying the following time-line:

8/23 - Kikuchi's Koshien dreams end
"My next step? I haven't really thought about that yet."

9/7 - Kikuchi has an interview with Sponichi
"I want to go to the Majors. I don't want to live out a life that's already written out."

9/14 - Kikuchi appears on a local TV show with his teammates
"I want to play on the world's best stage.  It's my life so I will make the final decision [of where I go]."

9/29 - National Athletic Tournament ends
"I want to be the type of player that people remember."

10/5 - Letter of Intent
"I'm not really in the position to talk about what I want to do next. But there's really no reason for me to go anywhere other than the world's best [league]."

10/17 - Meeting of the 12 NPB teams end
"I'm still 50/50 on m decision."

10/20 - Meeting of the 8 MLB teams end
"The Majors have some great facilities and I think it's the best league in the world.  I'm even more confused now about where I want to go."

10/23 - Hanamaki City awards ceremony
When asked about not being able to sleep lately, Kikuchi replied, "My acne has grown worse lately."


About 5,000 extra editions of a newspaper that provided coverage of Kikuchi press conference were printed and handed out in Morioka and Hanamaki cities in Iwate Prefecture.


Up to 9 NPB clubs might select Kikuchi with their first pick in this year's upcoming draft:

Rakuten Eagles, Hanshin Tigers, Nippon Ham Fighters, Chunichi Dragons, Yakult Swallows, Softbank Hawks, Seibu Lions, Chiba Lotte Marines, and Orix Buffaloes.

The Yokohama Bay Stars are said to be thinking about it.


Quotes from various people...

Hanamaki Higashi Manager Sasaki
He said he picked Japan because he wanted to prove himself her first. I'd like to try and support him with whatever he needs moving forward.

Chunichi Dragons Chief Scout Nakata
I'm glad he decided to start his career in Japan. If he decided on the Majors we still would have select him with our first pick. We were prepared for the battle.

Yakult Swallows Managing Director Kurashima
His decision makes the Japanese baseball community and the fans extremely happy.  I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch in front of Japanese fans.

Hanshin Tigers Club President Numasawa
I feel relieved.  And it's good news for the baseball community.  And I think he made the right decision.  All that's left now is for us to win the drawing.  We want to develop him into a world class pitcher.

Nippon Ham Fighters General Manager Yamada
We've had our eyes on him since spring, so we're relieved.  We'd love to win the drawing and have him realize his dreams here in Hokkaido about becoming Japan's best.

Rakuten Eagles Club Rep Yoneda
Since he has decided on staying in Japan, we'll make him our first pick.  Nomura's old number 19?  He's good enough for it.  If we win the drawing, we want to show him how sincere we are about him.

Softbank Hawks Chairman Oh
It's good that he decided to stay in Japan.  He's left-handed and I think he does have what it takes to make the pros.  If he's staying in Japan, he's our first pick.  Anything less for him would be ridiculous since he's worthy of being the top pick.

Seibu Lions Club President Maeda
He's a great prospect and I think the Japanese baseball community and the fans are all excited about his decision.

Chiba Lotte Marines VP Ishikawa
He made a decision that makes us happy.  He's the treasure of the Japanese baseball community.  He's definitely a number 1 pick.  We'll talk about what to do during our scout meetings and come up with a plan.

Orix Buffaloes Manager Okada
He threw his heart out at the Koshien so I'm really interested in seeing how his pro career turns out.  It would be great if we could send him off to the Majors after having a chance to see how great he is.

New York Mets Pacific Rim Scout Ojimi
I don't know why the adults around him can't recognize his talents and give him a little nudge to pick the Majors.  Those tears at the end were about not being able to go to the Majors and letting us down.

Los Angeles Dodgers Japan Scout Kojima
I'm sure he through long and hard before making his decision and just like his father said, now all that's left is for him to walk the path he chose.  I want to respect his decision.  And I'll continue to watch over him and support him moving forward.

Seattle Marines Japan Scout Yamamoto
I think his decision was only natural.  It takes a lot of courage to come to the Majors.  I wanted him to be a pioneer, but it's his (and the people around him) decision to make.

NPB Commissioner Kato
I wish Kikuchi all the best after he took the time to think about what he wanted to do with his future.