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[6/14/2013] The latest on the NPB’s “new” standard baseball – UPDATED @ 10:17pm

by on Jun.14, 2013 @ 11:04 am, under NPB

Updates from June 14:

  • NPB Secretary General Kunio Shimoda may not.  Deputy Secretary Generals Atsushi Ihara and Shoji Numasawa will most likely attend the meetings.  Even if Shimoda does go, he may have Ihara and Numasawa speak in his place.
  • The NPB offices received over 200 phone calls between 10:00am and closing on Thursday (they received about sixty on Wednesday).  They also received about 4,000 e-mails over two days (Wednesday and Thursday, with most coming after the NPB press conference on Wednesday).  According to the NPB PR rep, most calls have been about how poorly NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato handled the press conference on Wednesday night.  Some have also asked for Kato's resignation.  The last time so many fans contacted the NPB was when the CL tried to force opening day in March 2011 after the Tohoku Earthquake.
  • There is a chance that Shimoda will tender his resignation during a rep meeting today.  He has already informed some of his decision.  He took office as the NPB Secretary General in September 2009.
  • There is also a chance Kato may be asked to step down by the owners since many teams have been largely unsatisfied with his explanation of events so far, especially with how he is trying to skirt responsibility by saying that was unaware of what was happening.
  • Only the owners have the power to dismiss the commissioner by voting him out during an owner meeting.  At least seventy-five percent need to agree on the dismissal.  There is also a clause in the Baseball Agreement that states the commissioner cannot be dismissed unless there is a very good reason.  Kato's current term runs through to July 2014.
  • The NPB will begin making rounds to each of the teams to meet with players and coaches to offer apologies and explanations, beginning on the 15th at the Chunichi-Lotte game at QVC Marine.

Source: Sponichi 6/14/2013, Sponichi 6/14/2013, Sponichi 6/14/2013, Sponichi 6/14/2013, Nikkan Sports 6/14/2013, Sports Hochi 6/14/2013, Sports Hochi 6/14/2013, Daily Sports 6/14/2013, Daily Sports 6/14/2013

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UPDATE @ 3:31pm -

The NPB held a twelve-team rep meeting at their offices in Tokyo today.  Commissioner Kato was quoted as saying, "I did not pay enough attention.  I will move forward with strengthening governance."  There was no mention of a resignation.

Tomoharu Inoue, acting owner of the Rakuten Eagles, spoke to reporters after the meeting and said, "We unanimously decided to establish a third party organization to conduct an investigation."

Source: Sports Hochi 6/14/2013, Nikkan Sports 6/14/2013

UPDATE @ 4:20pm -

Kato held a press conference and said to the media, "It was a huge mistake to create a problem that has affected the fans, players, and everyone involved.  I feel badly for that."  When asked what his plans were, he replied, "I would like to do what I can to help make baseball even just a little better."

Kato also explained that the decision to establish a third party was to get a fresh set of eyes to take a look at the facts because no amount of apologizing would be enough.

Source: Nikkan Sports 6/14/2013

UPDATE @ 8:21pm -

The focus, at this point in time, is not about who is at fault, but rather why things happened as they did and how to avoid similar problems in the future.

Source: Daily Sports 6/14/2013

UPDATE @ 10:17pm -

More updates:

  • Seven tests were conducted on baseballs between 2011 and 2012.  The average coefficient of restitution was found lower than the 0.4134 goal in all seven tests, but still within the accepted lower range of 0.4034.  Two tests have been conducted this year and each time the balls were measured at 0.416.
  • Tests were conducted by the Japan Vehicle Inspection Association (日本車両検査協会) in Tokyo.  Twelve baseballs were collected from six stadiums for each test.  Each all was bounced off an iron wall at six different speeds.  The speed of the ball after bouncing off the wall was measured.  The allowed margin of error is 0.01.
  • There were no calls for Kato's resignation during today's meeting.  Many were interested in getting a third party to conduct an investigation in order to get to the bottom of what happened.

Source: Sports Hochi 6/14/2013, Sponichi 6/14/2013

Sponichi has posted portions of the press conference Kato held today:

Do you still feel this incident was not scandalous?

The ball was changed to address an error.  If you focus on that issue, then it is not a scandal.

Is there no way to settle this without a third party?

It was a huge mistake to create such a problem that has negatively affected the players and fans.  We want a third party to take a look at the facts from a wide perspective.

There are some that are asking for your resignation.

If the third party finds fault in me, then I think it should be considered.  That aside, I would like to do what I can to help baseball, even if it's only a little bit.

Will your name remain on the baseballs?

Nothing is set in stone, but some sort of mark is needed to show that it is a standard ball.

What about pay cuts?

We are still not at the stage to discuss pay cuts.  However, this is not something that can be overlooked.

Perhaps this was something the commissioner simply could not handle?

I will not dispute whatever kind of evaluation you have of me.  I will only do my best to accomplish the commissioner's duties, one day at a time.

Source: Sponichi 6/14/2013