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Kobe 9 Cruise: Fan Appreciation Day Rained Out, but not Eri Yoshida

by on Nov.01, 2009 @ 9:14 pm, under Independent
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Fan Appreciation Day was rained out for the Kobe 9 Cruise, but many fans still showed up for their last chance to see Eri Yoshida.

Yoshida spent over an hour signing autographs and taking pictures with fans and said that she was glad to have another chance to meet her fans one last time.

Today marked Yoshida's final day in a Kobe 9 Cruise uniform.

"I haven't made any decisions yet," said Yoshida.  "I'm not sure if I'll go to any tryouts, but I will continue practicing.  I will record my first victory or save next year."

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Eri Yoshida holds her last official bullpen with Kobe

by on Oct.31, 2009 @ 11:22 am, under Independent
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Eri Yoshida tossed a 120-pitch bullpen session on Friday.

For the Kobe 9 Cruise, it was their final practice session of the year.  For Yoshida, it was her last official bullpen session as a member of the Kobe 9 Cruise.

Yoshida is looking for a place where she can focus on her baseball playing career and is said to be looking into the Japan Future League for possible employment.

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Kobe 9 Cruise Announces New Manager Yutaka Ikeuchi

by on Oct.23, 2009 @ 12:11 pm, under Independent
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The Kobe 9 Cruise announced that their new manager will be former Hanshin pitcher, Yutaka Ikeuchi.

Yoshihiro Nakada opened the year as manager for Kobe but was replaced partway through the season by interim manager Shinichi Murakami.  Ikeuchi will be taking over for Murakami.

The Kansai Independent League has also partnered with a management company Ikeuchi works for in order to provide support to players that have been released by teams in the league.

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Eri Yoshida to leave Kobe 9 Cruise — UPDATED 10/2/2009

by on Oct.01, 2009 @ 10:16 am, under Independent
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Eri Yoshida has decided to leave the Kobe 9 Cruise once the season officially ends.

The change in the manager mid-season, along with the financial difficulties the team (and league) is facing and the other minor scuffles that took place towards the latter part of the season are likely reasons for her decision to leave the club.

Since Yoshida still wants to pitch she will likely look for a new independent league team to sign with next season.

The last official regular season game is today (10/1).

=== Updated 10/1/2009 @ 4:08pm JST

Eri Yoshida has updated her blog with her decision to quit the Kobe 9 Cruise.  I've taken some of the key points and translated them down below.

一部の報道で、
知ってる方もいらっしゃると思いますが…

今年で、
神戸9クルーズを辞めようと思っています。

Some of you may know based on some reports in the media...

That I've been thinking about leaving Kobe 9 Cruise at the end of the year.

ここまできて、
夢を諦めたり、
野球を辞めたりはしません。

I've come this far, I won't give up on my dreams, I won't give up on baseball.

逆にもっと、
本物のナックルボーラーになりたいという
気持ちが強くなっていくばかりで…

Instead, my feelings of wanting to become a real knuckleball pitcher just continue to get strong...

もっと野球が上手くなりたい。

I want to get better.

野球に専念出来る環境を探して
来年も挑戦したいと思っています。

I will find a place that will allow me to grow and will take the challenge of pitching again next year.

今年で神戸9クルーズでプレーするのは
最後ですけれど…

このチームは本当に良いチームだし、
応援してくれる方も暖かい人たちで
本当に大好きなチームです。

I might be leaving the Kobe 9 Cruise at the end of the year...

But this team is really great, and the people that support this team are really warm and caring, I really love this team.

=== Updated 10/1/2009 @ 10:42pm JST

Most people connected to the team were surprised to hear that Yoshida wasn't going to return to the team next season.  Even Kazuyo Hirota didn't hear anything until the night before.

I didn't know anything about it until I got a call [from her] on the night of the 30th.

Still, she was apparently happy that Yoshida is looking for better opportunities to help her growth:

This league is made to help support players that are looking to be challenged, so I think it's great she's so determined. ... It might end up hurting us from the business-side of things though.

=== Updated 10/2/2009 @ 8:24am JST

A couple of quick points I forgot to mention in my prior updates:

Yoshida is officially under contract with the team until the end of the month.

College could be another option of Yoshida.

She could jump over to the Baseball Challenge League (they don't have any rules against women on the roster).

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Kobe players to get a pay cut next season

by on Sep.23, 2009 @ 12:36 pm, under Independent
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Players that return to the Kobe 9 Cruise next season will see pay cuts that could drop their salaries from the 200,000yen they are making this season, to the 100,000-150,000yen range next season.

The team will begin negotiating contracts for next season in the beginning of October. Eri Yoshida will likely head the list of players the team will try to hold on to for the 2010 season.

"We haven't spoken to Eri-chan about her contract for next season.  We'd like to see everyone, not just Eri-chan, return to the team next season," said club president Kazuyo Hirota.

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Kobe 9 Cruise decides to pay its players through October

by on Sep.12, 2009 @ 2:56 pm, under Independent
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I find it extremely interesting how the headlines always seem to attach Eri Yoshida's name whenever there's a story about the Kobe 9 Cruise.

For example, Sanpo has this story entitled:

えりちゃん所属の神戸、契約通り給料支払い

Which basically translates to:

Kobe, the team Eri-chan is on, has decided to pay players based on original contracts

And Sponichi's headline goes:

えりちゃんもホッ…神戸が契約通り給料全額支払い

Which is:

Eri-chan is relieved... Kobe will pay players based on original contracts

I guess that's just an indication of how important Yoshida is to the team, in terms "nationwide brand recognition."

In any case, to the story at hand...

It appears as though the Kobe 9 Cruise will now be paying all their players through to October.  Salary payments might be a bit delayed, but otherwise the club has decided to honor all original contracts.

I'm sure this makes the players happy.  But I wonder just how much in the red Kobe is going to be after this season and whether or not it'll ever be possible for them to pull down a profit.

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Kansai League: Kobe 9 Cruise to bring back Eri Yoshida next season

by on Sep.07, 2009 @ 1:51 am, under Independent
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According to NikkanSports, the Kobe 9 Cruise will bring back Eri Yoshida next season.

"I want her to play here next season," said team owner Kazuyo Hirota. "She is a player with a lot of ambitions."

Hirota also said that she intends to keep the club going despite all the financial troubles it has gone through during its first season.

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Independent League: Nakada files injuction against Kobe 9 Cruise

by on Sep.05, 2009 @ 1:52 pm, under Independent
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Former Kobe 9 Cruise manager Yoshihiro Nakada apparently isn't happy with the way his former team is handling money owed to him.

Nakada was removed from the team on July 29th. After a number of meetings with the front office, it was agreed that the team would financially honor the remaining 6 months left on his contract and that it would be paid off in one lump sum.

But with the financial difficulties the team is currently experiencing, the front office apparently re-drafted a new proposal that not only cuts the number of months owed from 6 to 2, but also calls for split payments over an undisclosed amount of time.

Needlees to say, Nakada isn't happy with the recent developments and has filed a provisional order with the Kobe courts.

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Kansai Indepent League: Kobe officially informs players of its plans

by on Sep.01, 2009 @ 3:02 am, under Independent
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The Kobe 9 Cruise sat down with players and coaches after a game against the Kishu Rangers on Sunday to officially inform them of their plan to temporarily sever contracts at the end of September.  The two sides spoke at length on the matter, over 3 hours, but could not come to terms and will re-continue the discussion on another day.

Things just keep getting worse for this league.

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