The Yokohama Bay Stars announced today that Takao Obana will not be returning next season.
The following coaches will also not be returning:
General coach - Tetsuji Okamoto
Pitching coach - Atsushi Yoshida
Battery coach - Yoichi Fukuzawa
Bullpen coach - Shinya Ashizawa
OF/base-running coach - Osamu Yonemura
Roving batting coach - Shigeru Sugimura
The Bay Stars have also posted the following comment from Obana:
Thank you for your passionate support this past season. Finishing in last place despite the support is entirely my fault. I offer my deepest apologies.
Regarding this season, the young players really started coming along in September and October. I think the team will be able to approach the 2012 season in much better shape and the fans should be happy with what they see.
When thinking over the last two years, I think of how I started a number of things from scratch and slowly built things up. It's too bad this had to happen now. Development has taken a little longer than I initially expected, but there is no doubt that the team is growing. I mapped out a three-year plan and having to leave partway through is disappointing. Like a child growing up, I think this is the stage where there will be sudden growth spurts so I think everyone will be able to enjoy the team next season.
I appreciate all the support you gave over the last two years.
Thank you very much.