Softbank Hawks' acting owner Kazuhiko Kasai announced today that the team accepted a letter of resignation from board member Itaru Kobayashi. Kobayashi is apparently taking responsibility of the team's inability to re-sign Toshiya Sugiuchi and for the problems he caused during negotiations last year.
UPDATE @ 5:00pm - Kobayashi is expected to remain with the Hawks and could be put in charge of overseas scouting.
UPDATE 12/21 @ 12:07am - Kobayashi was named chief of overseas scouting/senior manager of mid-term strategy. Assistant director of team development/chief of domestic affairs Shigeru Ishiwata was made director of team development.
UPDATE 12/21 @ 10:59am - The Hawks apparently got a number of calls/e-mails from fans after Sugiuchi revealed that Kobayashi said, "Do you think a team will want you?" during salary negotiations before the 2011 season. And when a user tweeted to team owner Masayoshi Son what he planned to do with the official that botched negotiations with the thoughtless comment, he replied, "I would like to deal with it severely."
Chairman Sadaharu Oh told reporters that teams were entering dangerous territory when personnel changes could be forced along by outside elements, like the internet.