Tag: Hideki Kuriyama
The Nippon Ham Fighters officially announced today that they signed Hideki Kuriyama to a one-year extension for the 2014 season. While the timing of the announcement is a bit unusual, the extension comes as no real surprise, especially after how instrumental Kuriyama was in getting 1st round draft pick Shohei Otani to sign with the team.
The Fighters released the following statement from Kuriyama:
I decided to accept [the extension] after seriously considering whether or not it was good for the team. In leaving the announcement up to the team, they decided now was a good time because they wanted me to focus on the season. Responsbility increases over time, so this makes me once again realize just how heavy the burden of responsibility is.
Source: official announcement
The Softbank Hawks (coaches, staff, players, all told about 200 people) left for Hawaii out of Fukuoka Airport on Monday. They are scheduled to return to Japan on the 18th.
Makita, Tatsuya Takeno, Masato Kumashiro, and Naomichi Umeda participated in a baseball clinic in Saitama on Sunday.
Takumi Kuriyama and his wife held a wedding ceremony on Sunday. Hisanobu Watanabe broke the news about Kuriyama becoming the new team captain during his wedding speech.
Chiba Lotte Marines
About 300 fans attended a talk/autograph session on Sunday that featured Shota Ishimine and Yoshifumi Okada. During the talk session, Ishimine spoke about how he liked to bat lead-off and Okada said he felt the team would be do well if he and Ishimine competed for the stolen base title.
Nippon Ham Fighters
Hideki Kuriyama told reporters on Sunday that he wants his players to know how to hit weak dribblers because those dribblers can also help get the runner home from third with one or no outs.
Kuriyama is also thinking about moving Yoshio Itoi over to right, because of his strong arm, and Dai-Kang Yang (Yoh) to center.
Shunta is thinking about selecting an AKB48 song for his intro next season. His song this season, selected by the team, was Funky Monky Babys' Atohitotsu.
He also plans to work out in Los Angeles with Takahiro Okada and Hikaru Ito in January. One of the things he will be working on is raising his weight to 80kg -- he was at 75kg at the end of the season and managed to put on about 2kg by eating six meals a day.
The Nippon Ham Fighters held a press conference at a hotel in Sapporo earlier today to formally introduce 50-year-old Hideki Kuriyama as their new manager. Kuriyama reportedly signed a 2-year-deal worth 70M yen a year, to go along with a signing bonus worth 30M yen (both are estimates). He was also assigned the uniform number 80.
20 TV cameras and over 100 reporters covered the event.
Sanspo has also posted the following comments made by Kuriyama during the press conference:
On how you came to your decision.
This wasn't really about me, but more what I can do for baseball and for fans. I was unsure of how to proceed. Results are important, but I just felt like doing something.
What's your definition of an ideal team?
A team that tough both physically and mentally. [The Fighters] have appeal and they have a lot of players with those qualities.
What did you think of the team's poor performance towards the end of the season?
I knew that baseball was difficult, but I watched that and felt that must be the way things go when things just aren't going well. If you don't score runs, you put the pitchers in a bind. I want them to function in any kind of situation.
I'm sure you've had offers from other teams in the past, why the Fighters now?
I big reason was because of Hokkaido. I've had good experiences with Hoakkaido for over 10 years. If it was another team, I'm not sure if I would have seriously considered it.
UPDATE 11/10 @ 12:36am - Stores near the train station in the town of Kuriyama in Hokkaido will be holding a 3-day sale to celebrate Kuriyama's addition to the team.
UPDATE 11/10 @ 11:38pm - Sponichi has a slightly different set of comments from Kuriyama's press conference:
Your thoughts on officially signing a contract.
This decision wasn't about me, but about wanting to do something for the players and fans. I know I need to put up results, but I just want to focus on what I can do.
What did you tell the players?
That I'm passionate [about baseball]. I love baseball more than anyone and want to win more than anyone. I want to make this a good team more than anyone and I want everyone to become a hero. That's what I told them.
You'll be strict as well?
Yes. That's really where everything lies. Sometimes people [get stuck thinking] they're doing what they're supposed to be. I need to figure out what I can do to make sure that doesn't happen.
Why the Nippon Ham Fighters?
Hokkaido is a big reason. I've had great experiences with Hokkaido for over 10 years. If it was another team, I'm not sure if I would have seriously considered whether or not I could do it.
Anything you'd like to say to the fans?
Even championship teams lost 4 out of 10 games they play. That's pro yakyu. I want to do my best to make sure people that happen to watch those 4 losses can come away from the game and say they were glad to watch the game.
Sports Hochi is carrying the following comments from Hideki Kuriyama, taken after his meeting with the Nippon Ham Fighters on Thursday.
What was your meeting about?
We spoke about the contract in detail and I accepted.
When did they first approach you?
Back in late-September. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do until the very end. I'm still a little uncertain. This is a big responsibility. Lots of pressure.
Your thoughts on Nippon Ham?
They have a strong foundation and they know how to win. In a short amount of time since they moved to Hokkaido, they've managed to win a lot and start a tradition.
They have a lot of young players.
They still haven't gotten everything [out of them]. They have a lot of players with skill and potential. [Sho] Nakata is included in that group.
What kind of manager are you?
Winning is the number 1 priority. My thoughts [on this aspect] don't really matter. I just want to think about how to get everyone playing at the best.
This is a team run by the front office.
As a reporter, I've said this is the best type of environment. As a manager, I think it would be difficult for me to say, "Find a player like this for me."
Your thoughts on Hokkaido.
I have connections to Kuriyama, Hokkaido so I feel at home when I go there. It's my favorite place.
Your thoughts on Nippon Ham?
They have a solid foundation and they know how to win. It's only been a short time since they moved to Hokkaido, and yet they've managed to leave their mark. They are solid defensively and they win with pitching. Their main problem is scoring runs.
Your thoughts on Hokkaido?
I have ties to Kuriyama, Hokkaido so I feel at home. I'm grateful at the opportunity to [manage] in my favorite place.
Did you have a hard time deciding?
I was first approached back in late September and I had a hard time deciding until the last minute. I'm still a little uncertain. But I think there some things I'll be able to do only because I've been on the outside, looking in.
Are they any players you have high expectations for?
I have high expectations for everyone. Everyone will have a chance. I made it [through tryouts] and I went through a lot of things. [Past] achievements are important, but I want to put away any preconceived notions so that I can work with them from scratch.
What about the role of the front office?
As a reporter I always said this was the best kind of environment. Becoming a manager doesn't make it easy to say, "I want this player."
Speaking on a Hodo Station (TV Asahi news program), Kuriyama also provided the following comment on Yu Darvish (via Sanspo):
The [front office] and Darvish-kun will sit down and talk. He's a great pitcher. I'm trying not to think about the possibility of him leaving. [I'd like to] believe [he'll stay].
The Nippon Ham Fighters met Hideki Kuriyama at a hotel in Tokyo earlier today to formally offer him a 2-year contract to manage the team. Kuriyama accepted the terms and a press conference will likely be held in Sapporo some time next week.
Some additional notes on Hideki Kuriyama and the Nippon Ham Fighters:
- The Fighters are expected to sign Hideki Kuriyama to a 2-year deal.
- Kuriyama said to reporters on Monday, "I can't talk about assumptions. The players are also in the middle of a season and I don't want to create a commotion. The only thing I can say now is that I'll think about it once a formal offers comes. I can't say anything more. ... It feels great to have someone want me. I'm 120% for taking a managerial position. I love baseball more than anyone else, that hasn't changed since I was in high school."
- Fighters' owner Hiroji Okoso was asked about the managerial changes and about Kuriyama, he replied, "I have nothing. It's an important thing, so it doesn't make sense to try and rush things. Kuriyama? I've know him for a long time. He's just as he's been described by the media."
According to the most recent reports (like Nikkan Sports, Sanpso) the Nippon Ham Fighters have more or less agreed on a deal with 50-year-old Hideki Kuriyama and that the only thing remaining now is for the season (and postseason) to end so that an announcement can be made.
The Fighters apparently selected Kuriyama because they felt he could make good connections with the fans and work best with what the front office can provide, in terms of talent.
And at this point, it seems there won't be any major changes in the coaching staff (Kuriyama isn't bringing anyone along with him).
According to Daily Sports, the Nippon Ham Fighters have more or less decided to part ways with Masataka Nashida after the season (he's in the final year of a 2-year deal). An unnamed source says that finishing in first or winning a Nippon Series most likely won't change that fact.
While the team feels Nashida has done an admirable job as manager of the team since 2008, the club is interested in bringing in someone that can help nurture a young team (someone that's willing to use younger players). They also want to avoid situations where managers and players get too used to each other.
Names that have been dropped as potential candidates: Hideki Kuriyama (baseball analyst, could be the leading candidate), Kazuyuki Shirai (Yokohama Bay Stars Ni-gun manager, was head coach when Trey Hillman managed the team and was also a Ni-gun manager for the Fighters before that) and Tsuyoshi Shinjo (may not be a serious consideration, but the name was apparently dropped by team owner Yoshinori Okoso).