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Did Ochiai break the NPB’s unwritten rules?

by on Jun.13, 2010 @ 12:07 am, under NPB

In a game between the Chunichi Dragons and Rakuten Eagles on the 10th at Kleenex Stadium, Yohei Oshima laid down a bunt single in the 8th inning with the Dragons up 6-0.  Marty Brown apparently took offense to this and later said to reporters, "In the US, you don't bunt for a hit when you have a 6-run lead with the third baseman playing at regular depth."

But wait, there's a bit more to the story.  It seems Hiromitsu Ochiai thought he heard Brown (or someone else from the Eagles' bench) shouting to the pitcher on the mound to hit the next batter, Masahiko Morino.  According to Sports Hochi, the first pitch to Morino was up and in.

Said Ochiai, "If that hit Morino, we would have had a big problem. ... It doesn't matter how many runs you have, teams can always come back.  If you think the way [the Eagles] do, you'll start losing games you're supposed to win."

In reading various blog and bulletin boards, it seems a fair number of people didn't think the bunt was such a big deal, although most did seem to think a stolen base would have been over the line.  Seems some people were also a bit forgiving because Ochiai recently lost a game to the Orix Buffaloes (on the 6/2) in which his team had a 7-0 lead going into the bottom of the 7th and somehow managed to lose (in extra innings), 10-7.

So, who's in the right here?  Did the Dragons do something they shouldn't have?  Did they break an unwritten rule?  Or were the Eagles simply overreacting?


Incidentally, this actually isn't the first time these two managers have bumped chests though.  Back in 2006, after playing the Yomiuri Giants, Brown indirectly accused Ochiai of stealing signs during games.  The quote:

"There's a team that isn't playing fair.  And I'm getting tired of no one else saying anything.  Hiroshima will take this battle onto the field.  We'll set up a bunch of cameras from a number of different angles."

When asked which team:

"This is something I'm saying to all teams, but especially to the next team that's visiting Hiroshima, I'd really like them to hear what I'm saying."

That next team, of course, was the Chunichi Dragons.

He also added:

"As a man, as a manager, I'd like to talk with people like this, face-to-face.  And if a settlement still can't be reached, then that's just being extremely rude to me and to the Hiroshima team."

One comment on “Did Ochiai break the NPB’s unwritten rules?

  1. Eric

    Ochiai is a putz if he actually called for that bunt. He’s lucky Morino didn’t get killed by the next pitch. I don’t know what Oshima was thinking aside from padding his own stats and making Brown’s team look bad. The NPB has been making all sorts of noise about speeding up games this year – this is just the kind of rinky-dink baseball that slows everything down to a crawl. Just a brain-dead move.

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