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[9/26/2013] Rakuten beats Seibu, Lotte loses to Nippon Ham, Eagles win first pennant

by on Sep.26, 2013 @ 9:52 pm, under NPB

The Rakuten Eagles beat the Seibu Lions 4-3.  With the Chiba Lotte Marines losing their game against the Nippon Ham Fighters, the Eagles have clinched their first pennant.

Masahiro Tanaka was in to pitch the ninth inning and put runners on second and third with one out before striking out Takumi Kuriyama and Hideto Asamura.

Additional notes:

  • 5,000 bottles of beer were prepared for the celebration.
  • There were connectivity problems with the official team site due to a surge in traffic.
  • Senichi Hoshino was tossed into the air seven times.
  • Team owner Hiroshi Mikitani was tossed into the air five times.
  • Hoshino is the third manager to record pennants with three different teams -- Chunichi (1988, 1999), Hanshin (2003), and now Rakuten.  The other two: Osamu Mihara (Kyojin, Nishitetsu, Taiyo) and Yukio NIshimoto (Daimai, Hankyu, Kintetsu).  He is also the sixth manager to win pennants in both leagues.  The other five: Mihara, Shigeru Mizuhara (Yomiuri, Toei), Tatsuro Hirooka (Yakult, Seibu), Katsuya Nomura (Nankai, Yakult), and Sadaharu Oh (Yomiuri, Daiei)
  • Tanaka's streak of consecutive victories in consecutive starts ended at fifteen.
  • Tanaka's wife, Mai Satoda, was at the game wearing a Tohoku green Rakuten uniform.
  • Koji Aoyama had Darrell Rasner's uniform with him on the field after the game and during the celebrations.
  • Rakuten is holding a sale at Rakuten Ichiba.
  • The Eagles have posted details on PL Climax Series Final Stage tickets.  Advanced tickets for Booster Fan Club members will begin on October 5, Gold Fan Club members on October 6, and Regular/Ladies/Kids Fan Club members on October 7.  Tickets to the general public will become available on October 8.  Right field visitor reserved tickets on October 15.  More details can be found here and here.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/26/2013, Daily Sports 9/26/2013, Daily Sports 9/26/2013, Sponichi 9/26/2013, Sponichi 9/26/2013, Sanspo 9/27/2013

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W/L Records Since First Year

Year Manager JPN Manager ENG Pos G W L T
2005 田尾 安志 Tao, Yasushi 6 136 38 97 1
2006 野村 克也 Nomura, Katsuya 6 136 47 85 4
2007 野村 克也 Nomura, Katsuya 4 144 67 75 2
2008 野村 克也 Nomura, Katsuya 5 144 65 76 3
2009 野村 克也 Nomura, Katsuya 2 144 77 66 1
2010 ブラウン Brown, Marty 6 144 62 79 3
2011 星野 仙一 Hoshino, Senichi 5 144 66 71 7
2012 星野 仙一 Hoshino, Senichi 4 144 67 67 10
2013 星野 仙一 Hoshino, Senichi 1        

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UPDATE @ 11:30pm -

More updates:

  • Miyagi governor Yoshihiro Murai told reporters today he wants to give Tanaka the Miyagi Citizen's Honor Award.  He also said the prefecture might be able to provide the Eagles with some financial assistance to pay for the construction costs to expand capacity at Kleenex Stadium.
  • The Eagles will hold workouts to prepared for the FInal Stage of the PL Climax Series, but will not leave Sendai for a training camp.  The team's victory trip could be to Hawaii (about one week in mid-December).
  • Asides from the 5,000 bottles of beer, there was also carbonated water, tea, and non-alcoholic beer.
  • Stores in Sendai (like Fujisaki, Sendai Mitsukoshi, and Aeon) are celebrating the team's pennant with sales.
  • TV ratings for Thursday's game for the Sendai region were 15.5%.  A special NHK program on the Eagles pulled in ratings of 9.6% for the first part and 5.9% for the second part.

Source: Sponichi 9/27/2013, Sponichi 9/27/2013, Sponichi 9/27/2013, Sponichi 9/27/2013, Spoichi 9/27/2013

Sanspo has posted portions of Tanaka's post-game press conference on Thursday:

You threw nothing but fastballs to the last two batters you faced.

I lose if I back off.  I pumped myself up, but part of it happened naturally.

The crowd was going crazy.

It was a great situation to pitch in and it was amazing.

The team had not been doing well the last few years.

There was the people that were around since the team first got its start and the [early season reviews] did not give up a good chance.  It let people down in a good way.

Are your thoughts with the people in the Tohoku region?

My thoughts for them are strong.  This is not the end.  This is where the real matches begin.  This is only the beginning.

Source: Sanspo 9/27/2013

Sanspo has also posted portions of Hoshino's press conference:

You won a pennant.

Did it really happen?  I still cannot believe it.  But, this is something I think everyone helped build.  In thinking about the earthquake disaster...  We have been trying to easy the pain people in Tohoku are feeling.  We were able to carve out a new page in the Rakuten history books with what we accomplished today.

Tanaka pitched in and out of trouble in the 9th and was the last pitcher standing on the mound when the game ended.

I felt Masahiro would do his job, but I did not think it would by easy...  But a runner got to third, and just like he has all year, he got out of the jam.  I believed in him.

What led to the win?

Tanaka's consecutive victories and the run support.  Tanaka is the Eagles pitching staff.  But it is not just about Tanaka.  Every pitcher did their job effectively.

How have the games been?

This year, we have managed to fight our way back into games where we allowed the opponent to score first.  I do not know how many come-from-behind victories we have, but the players never give up.  They are persevering, just like the people in Tohoku.

On your third year.

My first year, there was the earthquake and the situation was bad.  The players were tested.  All they could do was confront things head on.  We wanted to show survivors strength and ease their spirits.  We have not returned everything we have received, but I hope we can get through this with the people of Tohoku.

Source: Sanspo 9/27/2013

UPDATE 9/28 @ 6:13pm -

The TV rating for the  NHK-BS1 broadcast on Thursday was 2.0%.  It rose to 5.4% between 9:01pm and 9:48pm and 5.5% between 9:48pm and 10:00pm.

The numbers may not appear significant, however, the four-week average for the same time slot, prior to 26th, was about 1%.

Source: Sanspo 9/28/2013