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[6/11/2014] Samurai Japan vs MLB All-Stars in November

by on Jun.11, 2014 @ 12:52 pm, under International, Samurai Japan
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Samurai Japan announced the 2014 schedule for the top team.

Date Venue Opponent Notes
11/10 (Mon) YafuOku Dome Softbank/Nippon Ham Mixed Team Exhibition Game
11/12 (Wed) Kyocera Dome MLB All-Star Team Japan USA Baseball 2014, Gm 1
11/14 (Fri) Tokyo Dome MLB All-Star Team Japan USA Baseball 2014, Gm 2
11/15 (Sat) Tokyo Dome MLB All-Star Team Japan USA Baseball 2014, Gm 3
11/16 (Sun) Tokyo Dome MLB All-Star Team Japan USA Baseball 2014, Gm 4
11/18 (Tue) Sapporo Dome MLB All-Star Team Japan USA Baseball 2014, Gm 5
11/20 (Thu) Okinawa Cellular Stadium Naha MLB All-Star Team Japan USA Baseball 2014, Exhibition Game

Notes

  • All six Japan USA Baseball games will take place at night.
  • Details for the mixed Softbank-Nippon Ham team will be released at a later date.

Source: Samurai Japan 6/11/2014

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[10/9/2013] Samurai Japan holds a press conference for Hiroki Kokubo

by on Oct.09, 2013 @ 10:00 pm, under Samurai Japan
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Samurai Japan held a press conference today to introduce Hiroki Kukubo as their first long-term standing manager.  His first job will be to guide Samurai Japan in three international games against Taiwan in November.

Sponichi has posted portions of the press conference:

Why did you accept the position?

When I first received the proposal, I was not sure if I should accept.  But there is meaning to taking on challenges so I accepted.

How will you lead the team?

I want to run things from the perspective of the players.  I want people to see that the team is young and full of energy.  It will be a team that unifies Japanese baseball and I will be at the top as manager.  I will be aware of what I need to do.

What is Japan's strength?

Pitching and defense.  And small ball.  We have to work on our ability to score that one run, otherwise we will have a hard time against countries that have power and speed.

Which players would you like to see on the team?

In the medium-term, a player that can be a part of the WBC team.  But I cannot really name names.

What kind of coaching staff will you select?

I am thinking young.  I do not have managing experience myself.  I do not think I will have to select people that have a lot of experience on the international stage.

Source: Sponichi 10/9/2013

Nikkan Sports posted this quote, which appears to be a mix of the above:

When they first came to me with this proposal, I was not sure if a person like me, with no managerial experience, should accept the position.  But, life is about taking on challenges.  It is not about whether or not you can do something, but rather doing or not doing.  I gathered up my courage and accepted.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/9/2013

On a side note, Kokubo will be assigned the number ninety.  The number comes from the nine he wore when he was an active player and is also the number that comes after the eighty-nine Sadaharu Oh wore when he managed the Hawks.

Source: Daily Sports 10/9/2013

UPDATE 10/10 @ 7:48pm -

Sponichi posted additional portions of the press conference this morning.  Below are sections not previous included:

What did you do when you first received the proposal?

I never considered it, so I could not get a real feel for it.

Did you ask anyone for advice?

I spoke to Softbank's [Sadaharu] Oh and he told me that these things were all about chance and timing.

What kind of team do you want to put together?

I may have retired as a veteran player, but I am new to managing.  I want to look at things from a player's perspective and show others our energy.

How will you approach the games in Taiwan?

Winning is important, but selecting players while looking four years down the road is something I also want to do.

Source: Sponichi 10/10/2013

UPDATE 10/11 @ 1:15am -

Sanspo has posted a different version that might help explain some of the things he said above.

On the proposal.

Honestly, I was not sure what to do, but life takes on meaning with challenges.  I do not have a set type of style, but I want to create a strong team with the understand that I am the top manager in Japan.

On being forty-two.

I am not to far away from active players so I want to show that I still have energy.  I would like to communicate with players from their perspective.

On player selections.

I cannot name any names.  I want to select players that can move, players that are healthy.

On amateur players making it onto the roster.

If their skills are up there, then there is a chance.  It is possible that players that are planning to turn pro within the next year or so make it to the team.

Source: Sanspo 10/10/2013

[10/7/2013] Standard Baseball Investigation, Posting System, Samurai Japan

by on Oct.08, 2013 @ 12:59 am, under NPB
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Standard Baseball Investigation

The NPB expects the third-party panel to release a supplementary report some time next week.  The findings will be discussed during a special board of directors meetings on the 17th.  Punishments for those involved will most likely be finalized on the same day.

Source: Sponichi 10/7/2013

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Posting System

An executive committee meeting was held in Tokyo on Monday.  Representatives from the twelve NPB teams discussed changes for the posting system and went over the latest proposal drafted by the MLB.  The NPB is hoping to finalize a new agreement before the end of the month.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/7/2013

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Samurai Japan

The NPB announced on Monday that they will hold a press conference on the 9th for their new Samurai Japan manager, Hiroki Kokubo.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/7/2013

Sho Nakata and Shohei Otani are reportedly on the NPB's list of candidates for the first Samurai Japan team that will be playing three games against Taiwan in November.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/7/2013

Hayato Sakamoto's name has been mentioned as possible captain of the team.

Source: Daily Sports 10/7/2013

[10/2/2013] Reports: Hiroki Kokubo to manage Samurai Japan

by on Oct.03, 2013 @ 1:30 am, under NPB
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According to a number of reports, Hiroki Kokubo (41) has been tentatively selected to manage Samurai Japan.  An official announcement is expected in the coming days.

"We feel he is a good choice as we begin a new chapter for Samurai Japan.  We pushed hard for it and we have the ok.  We hope was can make this happen," a person connected to the NPB said.

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/2/2013, Sponichi 10/2/2013, Sponichi 10/2/2013Daily Sports 10/2/2013

UPDATE @ 5:10pm -

Kokubo has already accepted the position.  An announcement could be made as early as Friday.  His first job will be to prepare for three international games against Taiwan between November 8 and 11.  Further into the future, the Premium 12 in 2015 and the WBC in 2017.

A Samurai Japan Committee will be established.  Shinya Miyamoto could be named the top official for the professional division, while Kozo Otagaki could lead the amateur division.

Sadaharu Oh, Tatsunori Hara, and Koji Yamamoto will likely take on advisory roles.

The roster for the three international games against Taiwan will most likely be made up of players twenty-seven and under.  There will be a mix of professional players and amateur players.

Kokubo will most likely start out with a two-year contract.

Source: Sports Hochi 10/3/2013, Sports Hochi 10/3/2013, Sponichi 10/3/2013

UPDATE @ 5:44pm -

The NPB announced that Kokubo was named manager of Samurai Japan.  A press conference will be held within the next couple of days.

Source: Sponichi 10/3/2013

UPDATE @ 8:54pm -

An official contract has yet to be signed, but will most likely run through to the 2017 WBC.

Source: Daily Sports 10/3/2013

UPDATE @ 9:10pm -

Kokubo spoke to reporters at a hotel in Fukuoka today and said, "I have seen the WBC as the tournament that decides the world's best team ever since baseball was removed from the Olympics.  In addition to the responsibility, there is a lot of influence [that comes with managing Samurai Japan].  I played under a lot of different managers [over my career].  I feel my own ideals of managing will develop over time."

Source: Nikkan Sports 10/3/2013

[8/21/2013] Hiroki Kokubo reportedly a top managerial candidate for Samurai Japan

by on Aug.21, 2013 @ 1:08 pm, under NPB, WBC
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According to Sports Hochi, former Softbank Hawk Hiroki Kokubo (forty-one) is a top candidate to become Samurai Japan's first standing manager.  If Kokubo is selected as manager, it will be his job to manage the NPB's "thirteenth team" and prepare it for international competition.

The NPB replied to the reports by saying that while the Samurai Japan Operations Division was beginning to consider candidates, it was still too early to finalize any decisions.  They had nothing to say about Kokubo being a possible candidate.

Source: Sports Hochi 8/20/2013, Sports Hochi 8/21/2013

[7/19/2013] NPB General News and Notes

by on Jul.19, 2013 @ 11:11 pm, under NPB
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NPB general news and notes from July 19:

  • Samurai Japan could play an international game in Taiwan during the upcoming off-season.  Taiwan threw the idea around and the NPB is now looking into the possibility of playing two games before the Asia Series (November 15-20).  The two sides are expected to continue discussions.  Due to the timing, the Samurai Japan roster will most likely be made up younger players.  Source: Sports Hochi 7/19/2013
  • The NPB is planning to select a permanent Samurai Japan manager before the end of fall.  His first job may end up being the two international games in Taiwan.  Source: Sports Hochi 7/19/2013
  • The players confirmed today, during a special general meeting in Sapporo, that they would like to undergo organizational reform under a new commissioner.  The players do not have any confidence in current NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato.  Source: Daily Sports 7/19/2013
  • The players also confirmed that they are against a new rule that will ban players from playing catch near the dugouts during games next season.  A trial run will begin at Ni-gun during the second-half this year.  Source: Nikkan Sports 7/19/2013

UPDATE 7/20 @ 12:20am -

In response to the players, commissioner Kato told reporters he heard about what the players said and recognized the need to improve the levels of trust.  He also said it was important to wait for the third-party committee to finalize their report on what happened with the NPB baseball.

Source: Sports Hochi 7/20/2013

 

Proposal to select full-time manager for Samurai Japan

by on Jun.06, 2013 @ 8:51 pm, under NPB, WBC
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The media learned today that the twelve NPB teams are proposing that a full-time manager be selected for Samurai Japan.  The manager would be expected to check on talent year-round by watching spring/fall camp and regular season games.  He would be in charge of selecting teams for international games during the off-season, the Premium 12 in 2015, and the World Baseball Classic in 2017.

Source: Sponichi 6/6/2013

[4/1/2013] General News and Notes: Samurai Japan, HoF name/status change ceremony

by on Apr.02, 2013 @ 2:00 am, under NPB, WBC
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Koji Yamamoto's contract as Samurai Japan officially ended on Sunday.  The NPB will likely begin talks about the next manager some time in June.

Source: Sports Hochi 4/1/2013

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The NPB held a committee meeting for Samurai Japan on Monday.  Special adviser Shigeo Araki and special assistant adviser Ken Maezawa participated for the first time.  The group met ahead of a scheduled executive committee meeting on the 8th and discussed a number of issues, including ideas for how to expand revenue streams for the Samurai Japan project.

Source: Sponichi 4/1/2013

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The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Tokyo held a ceremony on Monday to commemorate the museum's name change/status from Zaidan Hojin Yakyu Taiiku Hakubutsukan (財団法人 野球体育博物館) to Koeki Zaidan Yakyu Dendo Hakubutsukan (公益財団法人 野球殿堂博物館).

Source: official announcement