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. I walk out of the door and I support it. Brown said he has successfully encouraged one idea that was considered taboo: fielding a ball backhanded.
Japanese players are taught that reaching across their body for a ball is unacceptable and squaring their feet up to the ball is the only proper way to field. Eight Americans have managed in Japan since it split into two leagues in , but Brown may have more support than the others. Rakuten, an Internet conglomerate created in , was awarded a baseball franchise for the season. Its baseball business has been led by executives in their mid-forties.
Nomura, who is 75 years old and has managed for 24 years, is known as an astute baseball mind but is also associated with outdated ideas such as distracting opposing players by yelling through a megaphone and arguing against announcing starting pitchers in advance because it eliminates guesswork for opponents. View all New York Times newsletters. In hiring the year-old Brown to replace Nomura, Rakuten chose an American who played three seasons for the Hiroshima Carp and came back in to manage them. In four seasons there as manager, he never finished closer than 14 games from first place, but Rakuten sees Brown as possessing the delicate balance between new ideas and sensitivity toward Japanese culture.
Some players, though, already felt harmony with what Valentine attempted during his six years of turning around a historically doormat-like franchise.
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How Baseball Has Strengthened the Relationship Between the United States and Japan
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News World U. Stewart, a year-old pitcher from Melbourne, Florida, finalized a deal with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks on Saturday that has the potential to be groundbreaking. Stewart skipping the MLB draft — where he was the No. It also comes with the added bonus of Stewart not having his service time manipulated — which would let a team keep him on the cheap for another year or two — and becoming an MLB free agent a few years earlier than most.
baseball fiction anyone? | Baseball | LibraryThing
Of course to get there, Stewart will have to relocate to the other side of the world and adjust to a new language and culture while developing as a ballplayer. Latin American players have been doing this for years, Stewart will just be further from home.
Actually presenting Japan, and probably Korea, as a legitimate alternative to the draft would shift the power dynamic between MLB clubs and prospects.
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