Former Rakuten Eagles manager Marty Brown returned to the US on Thursday. He told reporters before departing that he really wanted to return to the Eagles next season but also understood the competitive nature of the sport. Brown doesn't have any plans for 2011 and seems to be open to finding work in either Japan or the US.
Tag: Marty Brown
Sponchi is reporting that the Rakuten Eagles apparently informed Marty Brown today that he was being dismissed after the current season. The team could make an official announcement of their decision sometime after tonight's game against the Seibu Lions.
It seems the Rakuten Eagles are may indeed be thinking about getting rid of Marty Brown once the season officially ends. A Chunichi Shimbun article mentions the rumor in an article posted yesterday that also discusses the possibility of the Eagles asking Yakult Swallows pitching coach Daisuke Araki to be their next manager.
While I'm not really sure what to think of the Araki rumor presented in the article, but I do think the rumor about Brown getting fired could be a real possibility.
The Eagles have yet to inform Brown about whether or not he'll be managing the team next season, but it seems he is scheduled to meet with club rep Jun Yoneda on the 30th (the day after the last game of the season). While that doesn't mean Brown's run with the Eagles is over, it also doesn't sound very promising.
Yoneda did also express his frustration with the current season by telling reporters a few days ago that he felt the team lost at least 5-6 games they should of won. Not exactly a glowing review of Brown.
The Eagles may also be recalling some of the headlines Brown supposedly created back in March by promising to kiss everyone's butts and / or to get down on his hands and knees and beg everyone's forgiveness if the team finished in 5th place or worse.
And guess what?
The team finished in 6th and Brown may now have to eat his own words.
Marty Brown is in the first year of a 2-year deal with the Rakuten Eagles. But according to Brown, he has yet to receive any word on whether or not the team wants him to return next season. Brown did tell reporters that he was interested in returning, but would understand if they decided to go another direction.
Club rep Jun Yoneda told reporters that felt that the Eagles dropped at least 5-6 games that they shouldn't have and that everything would be considered once the season ended.
Marty Brown (RAK) was ejected from his 4th game this season, an NBP high 12th time in his career.
With runners on first and second and 2 out in the 6th inning, Hiroshi Hirao (SEI) hit a grounder to short. The throw over to second by Kensuke Uchimura (RAK) and the throw appeared to pull Shintaro Masuda (RAK) off the bag but... the ump called the runner safe (although not before it seemed like he was about to motion an out). That got Brown out of the dugout to argue the call.
Youtube video after that jump, for those interested in seeing it.
Regardless of the outcome, it seems the Eagles are preparing to stick with Marty Brown for the 2011 season. Said an Eagles' club executive, "We signed an option-less 2-year deal with Brown. ... I'm sure there were a lot of growing pains involved with the transition over from Nomura. Putting up results in an environment like that is tough. [Brown] will be returning for another season."
Marty Brown managed to catch the Eagles Ni-gun game against Seibu at Seibu 2 Stadium earlier today and appeared to be satisfied with what he saw, particularly with Tetsuro Nishida (his swing was looking a lot better) and Masafumi Togano (he was throwing hard and his pitches looked good).
For those interested in stats:
The New York Times is carrying an interesting article on the current managing landscape for foreign managers in Japan titled Japan Shifting Views on Managers.
Here's a snip:
The Japanese have long favored a regimen aimed at developing muscle memory that allows pitchers to throw as much as they feel necessary, even for relievers who sometimes face only one batter in a game. Brown said he is sensitive to this and other differences.
"I'm an American in Japan, but I've adapted to the Japanese game," he said. "I pick and choose my battles to fight. I still fight for what I believe, but I don't demand. The front office knows that I believe in a chain of command, so they back me on my chain and I back them on theirs. If they really feel strongly about something, then I'm fine with that. I walk out of the door and I support it."
The article also mentions a column Yutaka Enatsu wrote that points to the decline at Rakuten and the rise in Lotte as indicators that foreign managers are no longer needed in Japanese baseball.
Enatsu supports his conclusion by citing two of this season's surprises: last year's cellar-dwelling Chiba Lotte Marines have been fighting for first place under the new manager Norifumi Nishimura and the Pacific League runner-up Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have been floundering near the bottom after hiring Brown to replace Katsuya Normura. For Enatsu, the explanation is plainly obvious: "The biggest reason is Lotte changed managers from Valentine to Nishimura" and "Rakuten's troubles stem from the exact opposite move."
I think that's a bit of leap, especially since I think luck played into a lot of what happened last season with the Eagles. And Lotte... Well, that's a whole other story there, but to keep things simple, it isn't like they're fielding the same exact team from last year.
In any case, I found the last paragraph of the article the most interesting.
The flicker in the trend of American managers in Japan may be nothing more than the natural ebb in a cycle. However, this season there are 12 Japanese players who have returned home for another go in the domestic leagues after experiencing the American major leagues. Several of them are thought to have managerial aspirations. The next trend may be the implementation of American ideas by Japanese managers who learned them as players in America.
I am indeed quite curious to see how Japanese players with MLB experience fair as managers. In the end, they might be the next key to changing the way the game is played in Japan.
Incidentally, for those interested, about a week before the Times piece, John E. Gibson wrote an article about Brown over at Daily Yomiuri Online titled Japan needs Brown-like passion.
Takeshi Yamasaki was tossed from last night's game for insulting an umpire (or directing violent / foul / abusive language towards an umpire) in the 5th inning Tuesday night's game against the Softbank Hawks.
To provide a little more to the story...
Dennis Houlton tossed a 1-1 slider down and away. The pitch could have been out of the zone (hard to say since it was a fairly close pitch), but it was called a strike by the home plate ump. Yamasaki was surprised at the call and turned to confront the home plate ump. The Eagles bench also came running out to try and calm Yamasaki to keep him from getting tossed.
With the count 1-2, Yamasaki stepped back into the batter's box and Houlton tossed a fastball that looked like it could have been a bit inside. But once again, the pitch was called a strike. Yamasaki started heading back towards the dugout, but turned his head to say something and was suddenly back in front of the ump arguing the call. Why no one jumped in before Yamasaki took his first step towards the home plate ump, I'm not really sure. Regardless, before cooler heads could prevail, the home plate ump flicked his wrist, turned his back, and walked toward the mic behind home plate to announce his decision: Yamasaki was being tossed for using abusive language.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Yamasaki said that he was so sure the last pitch was a ball that he'd volunteer himself to Ni-gun if he was wrong.
And two videos from YouTube:
I also thought I'd point out something a little ironic here.
Marty Brown told the press that the NPB should set up an automatic ejection rule for anyone that argues balls and strikes because it would only help protect the power umps have.
I guess Brown has already forgotten about the time he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes for his pitcher, Tomohiro Umetsu, back on 4/10/2007.
I'm also a little confused as to why he would bring up auto-ejections when one of his own players was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Seems he could have said something a little more neutral.
In any case, this was Yamasaki's 6th ejection. That's tops for Japanese players in the NPB.