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[10/11/2013] Chunichi Dragons hold a press conference for Hiromitsu Ochiai

by on Oct.11, 2013 @ 11:40 pm, under NPB
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The Dragons held a press conference for Hiromitsu Ochiai earlier today.  Mainichi Shimbun posted a number of quotes from the event:

On his job...

If the team does not develop good players, then all of it will be on me.

In speaking about his role to support Motonobu Tanishige...

The person that backs-up Tanishige has to be prepared [for anything] and full of baseball knowledge since they will have to become a protective barrier for him.  There are not many people that can do that.

With regards to how much time Tanishige will have...

At least four years.  The fifth year will depend on how good he is at the time.

On Tanishige being a player/manager...

The first two years, until he breaks [Katsuya] Nomura's games played record.

On Tanishige's potential as a manager...

As a catcher, he has experienced things people like me have not.  The quickest path to success will be to use that knowledge to build his own style of baseball.

On expectations and goals...

You can not get better without practice.  The question is if that held true these last two years. ... There is no point to this job if I cannot build a team that can win a championship.  I want to attract the fans by building a strong Dragons' team.  That will be the quickest way to improve attendance figures.

Source: Mainichi 10/11/2013

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[10/10/2013] Chunichi Dragons hold press conference for Motonobu Tanishige

by on Oct.10, 2013 @ 7:27 pm, under NPB
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The Chunichi Dragons held a press conference to introduce Motonobu Tanishige as their newest manager.

Sponichi has posted portions of the press conference:

How did you feel when they offered you the position?

I was a little surprised they picked me.  There was a small part of me that did think I might be asked as some point.  I felt if I [turned down the offer because I felt I could not do it], then [that mentality to seep into] everything else.

What about the difficulties of being a player/manager?

That is what everyone else thinks.  I have not tried it yet.  I think I will be able to say something about it once I have experienced it.

The new GM [Hiromitsu] Ochiai also recommended you.

We worked together for eight years.  I think he knows how I think and I feel I have at least a small understanding of Ochiai's thoughts on baseball.  I think based on that, I will be able to share my opinions with him.

What kind of team do you want to manager?

I want a team full of players that know what to do to win and know what kinds of things lead to losses.  If you can shutdown the opposition, you can win.  That is the kind of baseball I want to play.  As a player, I thought about winning a championship every year.  That will never change.

Source: Sponichi 10/10/2013

Other general notes:

  • There were some in the organization that were against bringing Ochiai back so soon, especially since they announced they were parting ways with him as a manager because of rising salary costs and declining attendance figures.  The organization was concerned that hiring him might be an admission of making a mistake.  To ensure things went smoothly, Chunichi also made a number of changes at the top, which included naming a new team president/acting owner.
  • Ochiai will be in charge of everything that has to do with player development and scouting.  He will not have any say in financial matters -- he will be given a budget and will have to work within that.
  • Team owner Bungo Shirai initially asked Ochiai if he was interested in becoming an adviser.  The latter countered by asking if he could be named general manager.
  • Ochiai recommended Tanishige for the manager's position.
  • Regarding the coach staff, Shigekazu Mori will likely return for a second stint as head coach.  Chunichi is also looking into former coach Hatsuhiko Tsuji, former Yokohama pitching coach Yui Tomori, and Takahiro Saeki.

Source: Sponichi 10/10/2013, Sponichi 10/10/2013, Sponichi 10/10/2013Sports Hochi 10/10/2013, Nikkan Sports 10/10/2013

UPDATE 10/11 @ 2:18am -

Ochiai will be in Nagoya on Friday to meet with team officials.  They are expected to talk about his role with the team in greater detail and finalize his contract.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/10/2013

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[10/9/2013] Chunichi Dragons: Tanishige named player/manager, Ochiai general manager

by on Oct.09, 2013 @ 12:00 pm, under NPB
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The media learned today that the Chunichi Dragons have offered forty-two-year-old Motonobu Tanishige the open manager's job.  Additionally, the team has reportedly asked former manager Hiromitsu Ochiai (59) to re-join the organization as general manager.  Shigekazu Mori (58) will most likely return for a second go-around as head coach.

Tanishige is not expected to retire as a player and will become the first Chunichi player-manager since Akira Noguchi in 1955 and the first player-manager in the NPB since Yakult's Atsuya Furuta (2006-2007)

Source: Daily Sports 10/9/2013, Daily Sports 10/9/2013, Daily Sports 10/9/2013Nikkan Sports 10/9/2013, Asahi 10/9/2013, Chunichi Shimbun 10/9/2013

UPDATE @ 7:25pm -

A number of personnel changes were approved during a Chunichi Shimbun special stockholder's meeting early today.  Among them:

  • Takao Sasaki replaces Katsuhiko Sakai as new team representative and acting owner
  • Hiromitsu Ochiai - new general manager
  • Motonobu Tanishige - new player/manager

Source: official announcement, Nikkan Sports 10/9/2013Nikkan Sports 10/9/2013, Nikkan Sports 10/9/2013

UPDATE @ 8:54pm -

The Dragons will hold a press conference for Tanishige on Thursday.

Source: Daily Sports 10/9/2013

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[10/6/2013] Chunichi Dragons: Ochiai and Tatsunami could be out as managerial candidates

by on Oct.06, 2013 @ 2:49 pm, under NPB
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Sports Hochi is reporting that Hiromitsu Ochiai (59) and Kazuyoshi Tatsunami (44) may no longer be considered candidates to replace Morimichi Takagi as the next manager of the team and that the organization is scrambling to narrow down a third name.

According to the report, the team decided to move away from Ochiai because reaction from the parent company and various local organizations was not very positive once the news about him being a strong candidate went public.  With regards to Tatsunami, those close to the situation told reporters the organization might be saving him for the future -- Chunichi might be concerned about forcing him into the tough situation of rebuilding the team.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/6/2013

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[10/2/2013] Rumors: Hiromitsu Ochiai, Dae-Ho Lee, Kenichi Nakata

by on Oct.02, 2013 @ 11:44 pm, under NPB
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Hiromitsu Ochiai

Shigekazu Mori feels Hiromitsu Ochiai would accept an offer to return as manager of the Dragons if asked.

Mori worked with Ochiai in the Chunichi organization between 2004 and 2011, first as pitching coach, then as battery coach, and finally as head coach.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/2/2013

Dae-Ho Lee

The media learned on Tuesday that Dae-Ho Lee has his eye on the MLB.  Lee has dreamed of playing in the Majors since he was a child and if negotiations with the Orix Buffaloes get drawn out, he could shift his attention overseas to see what kind of options are available.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/2/2013

Kenichi Nakata

The Softbank Hawks are looking for starting pitchers.  The media learned on Tuesday that they are looking into Kenichi Nakata, in case he decides to exercises his domestic FA option.  Also a big plus for Softbank is that he is from Fukuoka.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/2/2013

The Chunichi Dragons are planning to sit down with Nakata once the season ends.  They could offer the thirty-one-year-old pitcher three or more years to keep him from leaving.  In speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Nakata said, "I want to think of all the possibilities.  I cannot, at this point in time, say I will definitely leave or say I will definitely stay."

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/2/2013

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[9/30/2013] Hiromitsu Ochiai could be a managerial candidate for the Chunichi Dragons

by on Sep.30, 2013 @ 3:15 pm, under NPB
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According to reports by Sponichi and Nikkan Sports, Hiromitsu Ochiai might be among the managerial candidates the Chunichi Dragons are considering.  It seems there are some in the organization that believe he may be the best option to rebuild the team.

The Dragons' list is also said to include Kazuhiko Ushijima, Ken Macha, Kazuyoshi Tatsunami, and Kazuki Inoue.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/30/2013, Nikkan Sports 9/30/2013, Sponichi 9/30/2013

UPDATE 10/1 @ 3:39pm -

According to Sports Hochi, the Dragons have narrowed it down to two candidates: the front office likes Tatsunami because he of his youth and popularity; the owner like Ochiai because of his experience.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/1/2013

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WBC: Hiromitsu Ochiai takes himself out of running for Samurai Japan manager

by on Sep.07, 2012 @ 3:42 am, under WBC

Hiromitsu Ochiai took himself out of the running for Samurai Japan manager when he told reporters on Thursday that he would never do it.  He also had a few other things to say.

"I will never do it.  Never ever do it. ... I think this is something that would be impossible for active managers.  Leaving behind your team in order to go to an international tournament, that is not something that should happen. ... I would love to see a national team managed by [Katsuya] Nomura, but if this is something all twelve teams need to be ok with, the one more likely to cooperate would be Koji Yamamoto," said Ochiai.

Source: Sanspo 9/7/2012


UPDATE @ 7:53am - When asked what he thought when Yomiuri Giants' chairman Tsuneo Watanabe said he was the only possible candidate to manage Samurai Japan during a radio program on August 26, Ochiai replied, "I think when that came out, they already more or less had a decision on whom they were going to select.  I was a decoy.  I will never ever get it."  Source: Sponichi 9/7/2012

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Sadaharu Oh thinks Hiromitsu Ochiai is a good candidate for WBC manager

by on Jun.21, 2012 @ 6:24 pm, under WBC
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Sadaharu Oh told reporters on Wednesday that he felt Hiromitsu Ochiai was a good candidate for WBC manager.

"[Ochiai] is not an active manager and he has the credentials." said Oh.

When asked about Softbank manager Koji Akiyama, he replied, "It is no surprise that [Akiyama's] name has been mentioned, but I think candidates should be people not actively involved in baseball."

Akiyama also provided his thoughts: "No, no.  Even if they ask, I will turn it down.  It is a job that would be difficult for active managers.  It would be impossible."

Source: Sponichi 6/21/2012, Sanspo 6/21/2012

Sanspo: Hiromitsu Ochiai could be leading candidate to manage Team Japan at WBC

by on Jun.20, 2012 @ 2:01 pm, under WBC

According to Sanspo report, NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato has been tasked to select the WBC manager.  Kato has been quoted as saying that any potential candidate should 1) be able to persuade Japanese MLB players to join the team, 2) be logical and not impulsive, 3) be able to win.

Possible candidates include Hiromitsu OchiaiSadaharu OhTatsunori Hara, and Koji Akiyama.

Of these four, Ochiai appears to be the leading candidate:

  • An unnamed NPB source is quoted as saying, "Commission Kato thinks highly of Ochiai's approach to baseball and ability to lead a team."
  • Ochiai remains a popular figure after leaving the Chunichi Dragons' organization, which could help with merchandising opportunities (separate from the WBC).
  • The NPB is currently thinking about scheduling friendly exhibition games against Australia and Cuba in November.  That would not give active managers much time to prepare since they may be involved in the Nippon Series.

The one problem with Ochiai at this point appears to be the unwillingness he displayed when it came to sending Chunichi players to the second WBC.

Kato is currently expected to make an official announcement of his final decision in October.


In other related news, the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association could reach a final decision on the WBC during a meeting on July 20.  Source: Sanspo 6/20/2012

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Suguru Egawa’s interview with Hiromitsu Ochiai on Nippon TV’s Going!

by on Jan.03, 2012 @ 5:26 pm, under NPB
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Suguru Egawa interviewed Hiromitsu Ochiai on Nippon TV's Going! (12/18/2011 and 12/19/2011).

  • The Dragons called Ochiai and asked him to change the team and win within two years.  He replied that he could not change the team in two years and that he would need at least three years.  Three minutes later, they called back and agreed to a three-year deal.
  • Ochiai did not think being a manager was stressful or fun -- he did, however, enjoy watching players develop in front of his eyes.
  • When the Dragons were in third place this season, he firmly believed the team would still manage a first place finish.  Why?  He knew Yokohama was more or less out of the race.  He thought the Carp pitchers were going to run out of gas, especially since they were counting so heavily on Bryan Bullington and Giancarlo Alvarado.  The media was placing a lot of pressure on Yomiuri and Hanshin and that was making them more prone to mistakes.  And Yakult was too inexperienced and the Dragons still had nine games against them.  The team he feared playing the most was Yokohama because those were games his team had to win; likewise, other teams were dropping their games against Yokohama.
  • Ochiai was really careful about not wearing his emotions on his sleeve -- so long as the manager remains calm, he felt he could keep the players calm regardless of how crazy things might be.
  • Ochiai felt his team had a chance to win the Nippon Series, but he also felt that if the series went seven games, they would lose.  If the team was going to win the Nippon Series, he thought it would have to happen within the first six games.
  • He felt the last games of the Climax Series against the Swallows was one games too many.  Specifically, Kazuki Yoshimi started the game on three days of rest, effectively taking him out of the running to start game one of the Nippon Series.
  • Ochiai said he thought Yoshimi was chosen to start game five of the Climax Series against the Swallows because he had the best chance to win.  When Egawa questioned what he meant by "thought," Ochiai said he relied entirely on head coach Shigekazu Mori to handle decisions on the pitching staff.  He then said it was not his job to decide on the starting rotation or the order of pitchers out of the bullpen.  That was why he never knew who was going to start next.
  • Ochiai had no faith in the offense, so much so that he basically hoped that out of the five or six times the team managed to get runners in scoring position, they would score once or twice during the course of the game.
  • Ochiai describes himself as a circle -- he is a peaceful person and does not want to cause trouble, BUT people around him try to change that.  When asked if he was a strong circle, he said he thought he was a very strong circle.  He then said that enemies would often try to invade the circle, to which Egawa asked, "Enemies?  Who are your enemies."  Ochiai replied, while chuckling, "I have many."  He then said that the circle engulfs the enemies, making the circle bigger.
  • Ochiai says a lot of people say he is strange, but he feels that he is the only person that is honest with himself.He then added that he does not like to use people and does not like to be used.  Ochiai just wanted to peacefully live out his life freely.  Ultimately, he just wants people to leave him alone.
  • When asked what kind of team (his "ideal team") he would you like to build if he were to manage again, Ochiai said it would be a team could win without the manager having to say anything.  That aside, he said he would like to have three to four well-rounded players that could hit for power (like 40 homers) and also do the little things like advance the runners and run the base paths well.  He then said it would be great if he could just sleep in the dugout.

The video has also been uploaded to Youtube (not by me), but I have no idea how long they will last (part 1 and part 2).

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