Some more notes on Hiromitsu Ochiai being replaced by Morimichi Takagi next season from various articles.
- Sponichi: Takagi is the third manager in franchise history to have three tours with the team. In 1986, he was interim manager between 7/6 and the end of the season; 1992 - 1995 (stepped down after 6/2); and 2012 - ?.
- Sponichi: Ochiai was asked to participate in the press conference that took place in Nagoya Dome on Thursday, but he declined. ... Other reasons for his dismissal could include fall attendance figures and Ochiai's propensity to hire coaches that weren't former Chunichi players. ... There has been a growing divide between Chunichi Shimbun and Ochiai which culminated in Ochiai ending the column on 9/6. ... The move to hire Takagi seems more like a bridge to the Dragons' next "real" manager.
- Sponichi: Rising salaries for the coaching staff may have been another reason for letting Ochiai go after the season. And the team apparently attributes the drop in attendance to Ochiai's "dull" and secretive (like hiding player injuries and starters) method of managing. ... "Management re-organization is one reason [for the change]," said team president Katsuhiko Sakai.
- Sports Hochi: Current Ichi-gun coaches will probably be completely replaced. And at least one coach, Seiji Tomashino, has said he will not return. Potential Ichi-gun coach candidates could include Ni-gun manager Kazuki Inoue and KBO Samsung Lions' pitching coach Eiji Ochiai (both former Dragons).
- Spochi Hochi: Takagi said he'll likely select former Dragons as his coaches. He also said he'd like players like Ichiro Suzuki, Kosuke Fukudome, and Kenshin Kawakami to join the team.
- Daily Sports: Takagi apparently spoke to Ichiro's father over the phone and asked that he tell his son that Takagi wants him to join the Dragons.
- Nikkan Sports: Most players either found out about this being Ochiai's last season when a general news flash (provided by Chunichi Shimbun) appeared on the big screen during pre-game practice, or through reporters trying to cover the story.
- Nikkan Sports: NS asks three questions -- Why let Ochiai go? Why now? Why Takagi? -- and provides answers to them.
- On why they let Ochiai go: When team rep Ryohei Sato mentioned Ochiai being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a reason to let him go, a reporter fired back, "But Takagi is also in the Hall of Fame." Ultimately, money probably played a big part. Up until recently (early-2000s), Chunichi Shimbun was able to cover the heavy losses (anywhere from 500M yen to 1B yen a year), but with newspapers losing steam, they're trying to cut losses down to about 100M yen a year. By winning on a consistent basis, Ochiai may have hung his, and the rest of the coaching staffs collective necks. In the end, the team may have opted for fiscal balance over winning.
- On why now: The Dragons likely decided on letting Ochiai go fairly early. But it took them some time to find a replacement they could agree on. As for delaying the announcement a little longer, the front office didn't think they would get away with making the announcement after the Dragons' 4-game series against the Yakult Swallows, especially if they did well (as they are currently doing).
- On why Takagi: This may have more to with the next manager. It seems they'll have Takagi keep the team going until current coaches like Inoue and former players like Kazuyoshi Tatsunami are ready to take over as the next manager.
- Nikkan Sports: Ochiai hasn't been very vocal since he learned he wasn't returning next season. After Thursday's game, Ochiai said, "It's just as the contract says. This is how this industry works."
- Daily Sports: Rakuten Eagles' manager Senichi Hoshino was disappointed in the Dragons' decision to make the announcement on Thursday. "If Ochiai made the decision, that would a different story, but this is just management taking things really lightly. They aren't taking things seriously. They're slighting baseball. ... I can understand if they were out of it, but they're right in the middle of it."