The Yakult Swallows held a retirement ceremony for Shinya Miyamoto after their game against the Hanshin Tigers tonight.
His retirement speech:
I first want to thank the Yakult organization for setting this up for me. Thank you.
To all the Tigers' fans that stayed until the end, thank you.
Many people helped me get to where I am, since the moment I joined the organization in 1995.
The person that influenced me the most was Katsuya Nomura. Nomura taught me what it takes to be a professional player.
[Tsutomu] Wakamatsu taught me what it meant to be an everyday player.
[Atsuya] Furuta taught me the responsibilities that come with being a central player.
[Shigeru] Takada helped me extend my career by converting me to a third baseman.
[Junji] Ogawa was always concerned about my condition and did what he could to make sure I played when I was in good shape.
Ogawa was also in charge of scouting me. I am happy that I can retire under Ogawa. I got this far because I met a lot of good people along the way -- coaches, teammates, personnel, trainers, and team staff. Thank you.
My parents brought me up to become the best at whatever I did. I do not know if I was able to accomplish that, but I was able to attain my dream of becoming a professional baseball player because of my father and mother. Thank you.
My wife, Tomomi, supported me through most of my pro career. Thank you very much.
Hina, Nao, Kyosuke, Miku. I was able to work hard because of you. Thank you.
The greatest memories of my career were the three Nippon Series championships. There are the personal records, but those moments we won the Nippon Series left the strongest marks on me.
The Swallows ended in last place this year. I expect the team to pull together and begin their turnaround during the fall and into next season.
I began playing when I was a child because I loved baseball. That changed when I turned pro and baseball became a job. During my retirement press conference, I said I never enjoyed playing baseball. There were concerns about not being able to hit, fears about committing an error, I never had fun playing baseball.
But after the retirement press conference, things started to change inside of me. Your warm and loud cheers and applause, even when I was just getting a pinch-hit at bat, made me feel that, despite all the struggles I had gone through on the field, I was a lucky person. It was your cheers that allowed me to enjoy playing the game for the first time. It made me feel as if it was worth all the hardships, pain, and regrets.
I always thought being a professional player was about making the fans happy by executing plays professionally and winning games, but here at the end, you allowed me to experience how baseball can be fun. Thank you to all the fans.
Lastly, to the Yakult Swallow fans, the Jingu Stadium fans, all your cheers were wonderful. Thank you very much for the last nineteen years.
- Advance tickets were sold out for the game. Same-day tickets were not available.
- Miyamoto's son, Kyosuke (7), threw out the ceremonial first pitch while Miyamoto stood in the batter's box.
- Miyamoto made the starting line-up at short batting second. It was the first time he got the start at short since May 21, 2010 (vs Lotte).
- Miyamoto went 0-for-5 in the game: Ks, G6, G3, G6, F7.
- Fukudome (PL Gakuen) presented Miyamoto with flowers after the game.
- PL Gakuen alumni Kazuhiro Kiyohara, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, Atsushi Kataoka, Hiroki Nomura, and Kiyoshi Hashimoto were at the game. Former Swallows Atsuya Furuta and Norichika Aoki were also present, as were current teammates that were working out at Ni-gun: Shohei Tateyama, Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, Yuhei Takai, and Yoshinori Sato.
- A highlight reel of his career and a video message from former managers Junji Nakamura (PL Gakuen) and Katsuya Nomura (Yakult) were shown on the big screen before his speech.
- He was presented with a "big flag" full of messages from fans, prepared and presented by the Tsubame-gundan.
- Miyamoto was tossed into the air six times. He shook hands with each of his teammates. He threw baseballs into the stands as he walked around the field.
- He plans to become a commentator after retirement. The NPB could also offer him a position on the Samurai Japan staff.