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News and Notes: Shigeo Nagashima/Hideki Matsui ceremonies from May 5, 2013

by on May.06, 2013 @ 2:49 am, under NPB

Various notes about the ceremonies for Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui on Sunday.

  • Police checked the seats and various other sections at Tokyo Dome before the game.  [Nikkan Sports 5/5/2013]
  • Over 600 people were reportedly on hand to maintain security at Tokyo Dome today.  [Sanspo 5/5/2013]
  • 1,360 people viewed the Shigeo Nagashima/Hideki Matsui exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Tokyo on Saturday.  The last time the museum drew more than 1,000 visitors in one day was when the Giants played the Seattle Mariners in an exhibition game on April 26, 2012 (1,184).  [Sponichi 5/5/2013]
  • Matsui visited Nagashima on Saturday.  [Sanspo 5/5/2013]
  • Nagashima had a special 600 gram bat made so that he could swing the bat with just his left arm (he still has problems with this right).  The Giants prepared a bat and a large batting helmet for Matsui, just in case he needed it.  [Sponichi 5/5/2013Sanspo 5/5/2013]
  • Matsui wore the number fifty-five, Nagashima the number three, Tatsunori Hara the number eighty-eight, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the number ninety-six.
  • Tokyo Dome was packed on Sunday: the reported attendance was 46,707.
  • Ten children that evacuated to Tokyo from Futaba in Fukushima because of the nuclear plant incidents after the Tohoku Earthquake were invited to the game.  [Sponichi 5/5/2013]
  • Sanspo has posted photos from the ceremony. [Sanspo 5/5/2013]
  • Nagashima and Matsui attended a press conference at a hotel after the ceremonies.  [Sanspo 5/5/2013]
  • Yomiuri Giants chairman Tsuneo Watanabe told reporters on Sunday that he has plans to meet Matsui in the near future.  [Nikkan Sports 5/5/2013]
  • The gold-plated bat that was presented to Nagashima and Matsui as part of the People's Honor Award will be on display at Tokyo Dome near Gate 22 between May 6 and 8.  The bat is about eighty-six centimeters long and weighs roughly two kilograms.  Nagashima's name and uniform number, Matsui's name and uniform number, and a number of other things like the date of the ceremony, were carved into the bt.  [Nikkan Sports 5/5/2013, Sponichi 5/5/2013]

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Sponichi has posted portions of the post-ceremony press conference.

First, Nagashima:

What are you feeling right now?

It was a ceremony like no other.  I wish to express thanks that I was able enjoy it with all the fans.

Are there any Matsui memories that stand out?

I remember his first year the most.  We did a 1,000-day exercise to help him build his swing.  That left a lasting impression.

On facing Matsui during the ceremonial first pitch.

I was really excited at the time and wanted to hit his pitch.  The ball came up near my head, so I could not hit it, but it made me happy that I was able to swing the bat.  I think I would have made contact if it was a good pitch.

What kind of path would you like Matsui to go down?

I think baseball is his life.  If he is going to do this as a Japanese person, then he needs to approach it in a way that supports the people of Japan.  I would like him to focus on baseball like that.

Your thoughts on baseball's future in Japan.

We need to begin at an early age.  I think children will be very important.

Source: Sponichi 5/5/2013

And Matsui:

What does it feel like to receive the award?

My responsibilities have increased.  It has provided a wake-up call.  I feel strange to have received the award at the same time as my life's mentor, but I would like to continue chasing after him.  I think it has provided me with that wonderful opportunity.

On Nagashima receiving the award.

I think I am the most happy for him, more than any other Japanese person.

You are wearing the same suit.

I suggested it and Nagashima-kantoku picked [the suit].  They made wonderful suits.  I will take care of this suit for the rest of my life.

Any particular memories with Nagashima?

It was like he guided me on a daily basis.  The thing I remember most is the moment we were able to toss him into the air after a game on October 8, 1994.  That still feels like it just happened.

On throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in a Yomiuri uniform.

I [wore the uniform] for the first time since 2002.  It filled my heart and made me remember a lot of things.  It made me remember how I felt when I played [here].  I could feel Nagashima-kantoku's desire to hit the ball during the ceremonial first pitch.  He always told me to work on the pitches up and in, so that is where I threw it.

What did you learn from baseball?

There are some many things I cannot count them.  Nagashima-kantoku said that baseball is life.  I think that is the truth.

Source: Sponichi 5/5/2013

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Nikkan Sports has posted the full speeches made by Matsui for his retirement ceremony and his People's Honor Award ceremony.  I do not have enough time to sit down and translate them, so I will just provide the links: retirement speechPeople's Honor Award speech.

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A number of YouTube videos have been posted.  Here are a few direct links:

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UPDATE 5/7 @ 3:05am - Some additional updates from the 6th.

  • The exhibition area at Tokyo Dome for Nagashima and Matsui has been a big hit among fans.  [Sanspo 5/6/2013]
  • Matsui is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Abe for a meal on the 8th before returning to the US on the 9th.  He may also meet with Yomiuri Giants' chairman Watanabe before he leaves Japan.  [Sanspo 5/6/2013]
  • To clarify, Nagashima and Matsui each received one gold-plated bat.  Their names and uniform numbers were etched into the barrel.  The name of the award, date, and the name of the prime minister were etched into he grip area.  Both bats will be on display at Tokyo Dome until the 8th.  [Sanspo 5/6/2013]
  • Shinnosuke Abe (Yomiuri) and Kenta Maeda (Hiroshima) presented flowers to Matsui.  [Sports Hochi 5/6/2013]
  • Matsui addressed Yomiuri players before the pre-game team meeting on Sunday.  [Sponichi 5/6/2013]
  • Sunday's press conference was held at the New Otani hotel's Fuyo-no Ma conference room.  250 members of the media and forty-five cameras covered the event.  About 800 members of the media gathered at Tokyo Dome. ... About 1,000 fans lined up outside the OF reserved section just before the gates opened at 10:30am. ... Merchandise went on sale in a booth outside the stadium at 8:00am.  10,000 towels (2,625 yen) and 7,000 t-shirts (1,575 yen) sold out in about four hours. ... There was an increase in security, from the usual ten to 200. ... The date and uniform numbers 3 and 55 and were printed on the baseballs that were used on Sunday.  [Sponichi 5/6/2013]
  • The two players rode around on a Nissan Cedric convertible. ... The two wore special-order suits (dark blue, pinstriped, with a polka-dotted tie) made by a tailor in Minatoku, Tokyo.  They cost several hundred thousand yen.  [Sponichi 5/6/2013]
  • Nagashima has been doing regular rehab work since he suffered a stroke on March 4, 2004.  Over the past nine years, he has missed just two days of rehab (snow and a cold).  [Sponichi 5/6/2013]
  • It was decided during pre-ceremony meetings that Nagashima would purposely swing and miss the ceremonial first pitch because there was concern about Prime Minister Abe or Tatsunori Hara getting hit by either an errant throw or a foul tip (neither wore protectors).  But that all changed the moment Nagashima stepped into the batter's box -- he suddenly wanted to swing the bat for real. ... Nagashima practice swung the bat fifty times a day for the ceremony.  A part of him wanted to show fans that he was able to recover to a point where he could hit a baseball.  [Sponichi 5/6/2013]
  • Yomiuri Giants chairman Watanabe reportedly spoke to Matsui's father about Matsui as a future manager.  He plans to meet directly with Matsui to discuss the idea further.  It is possible the team could offer Matsui some sort of a special coaching contract this season (perhaps for one month out of the season).  [Nikkan Sports 5/6/2013]
  • Matsui initially thought about turning the award down, but then reconsidered.  Said Matsui, "I questioned the decision to give me the award based on my accomplishments.  There are plenty of better candidates than me.  But, it is possible my connection with [Nagashima-kantoku] was a major factor.  It could be that I am just tagging along.  The way I see it, this is not so much about my past accomplishments, but rather a strong statement telling me to help support baseball in Japan moving forward."  [Nikkan Sports 5/6/2013]

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UPDATE 5/8 @ 2:24am - Some additional updates from the 7th.

  • Lines for people interested in seeing Nagashima and Matsui memorabilia on Monday grew out to about 150 meters long with a wait time of about an hour and a half. [Nikkan Sports 5/7/2013]
  • Nagashima and Matsui are scheduled to have dinner to Prime Minister Abe on Wednesday.  Yomiuri Giants team owner Kojiro Shiraishi and team chairman Watanabe will also attend the dinner. [Sponichi 5/7/2013]
  • Prime minister Abe recounted the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday and told people about how he was worried a foul tip might hit him.  He also said that he thought Nagashima swung the bat with the intention to make contact and that he was told to call out "strike" on the pitch. [Sponichi 5/7/2013]
  • The Giants could offer Matsui any sort of coaching position, including assistant manager, head coach, general position play coach, and batting coach.  He would then work his way to becoming a manager. [Sponichi 5/7/2013]

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UPDATE 5/8 @ 2:30pm -

TV Ratings (Nippon TV, exclusive coverage) - average: 12.9% Kanto, 11.0% Kansai; max: 18.5%  [Sanspo 5/8/2013, Nikkan Sports 5/8/2013]

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UPDATE 5/10 @ 4:49am -

A few more updates:

  • Matsui and Nagashima met with Prime Minister Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga for dinner on Wendesday night. [Sanspo 5/8/2013]
  • The evening lasted about ninety minutes and ended at 8:30pm.  Dinner was Japanese style.  Nagashima drank oolong tea while Matsui drank wine.  [Sponichi 5/9/2013]
  • Matsui arrived a little after 6:00pm.  Nagashima arrived at 6:17pm.  Prime Minister Abe arrived at 6:37pm.  [Sanspo 5/9/2013]
  • Matsui left for the US out of Narita Airport on Thursday.  [Sponichi 5/9/2013]
  • Nagashima's gold-plated bat will be on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Tokyo between May 9 and May 29.  A game ball from May 5, autographed by Nagashima and Matsui, will also be on display.  [official announcement]
  • Nomi, Ishikawa (Matsui's hometown) and Sakura, Chiba (Nagashima's hometown) are looking to set up some sort of tourism partnership.  [Sponichi 5/9/2013]

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UPDATE 5/13 @ 12:07am -

A few more updates:

  • Matsui's gold-plated bat will go on display at the Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum in Nomi, Ishikawa.  [Sponichi 5/10/2013]
  • Sponichi reports that Matsui could return to Japan in August and begin discussions with the Giants about possible coaching positions with the team.  [Sponichi 5/10/2013]
  • Sanspo does not mention a specific month and simply notes that Matsui could return to Japan some time during the summer.  [Sanspo 5/10/2013]

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UPDATE 5/15 @ 10:27am -

Matsui's gold-plated bat is now on display at the Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum in Nomi, Ishikawa.

Source: Sanspo 5/15/2013