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Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess

Discussion in the Open Talk forum
Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
Off topic on this thread, Sara B pointed out Jim Allen's latest Hot Corner article "Final party can't cover ugly mess" regarding the "Thanks Bobby" party at Chiba Marine Stadium on Tuesday night. The article can be summarized at the end of the fourth paragraph:
"Tuesday night was Valentine's consolation prize for keeping his mouth shut when the front office's only apparent goal was to antagonize him."
I've heard such things all season long, both directly and indirectly from Lotte's staff, members of the press, and Bobby himself. From what I've heard, the owner, his son (who now runs the team), and even Setoyama have not been problems. It's all been Akira Ishikawa and his numerous attempts at character assassination.

If, as Jim says, another Pacific League executive was able to notice Ishikawa's job was to "make Valentine's job miserable," then I guess Ishikawa wasn't nearly as adept at character assassination as Fox News (I'm still bewildered at the nonsense the masses in the U.S. believe coming from them) or Microsoft (driven many Open Source adapters in state and local governments from their posts). One of the teams that I've heard of Ishikawa whispering his venomous lies to is Yokohama. But I don't know if the executives there have taken his bait or not in trying to prevent Bobby from moving across the bay.

One of the things that has been breaking Valentine-kantoku's heart has been his trying to distance himself from some of his favorite players. He's worried about how they may be treated next season under the new management, and genuinely wants to protect them. So when Gori (Imae) and a lot of the players came up to him in the dugout after that final Chiba Marine game to have their pictures with him, I couldn't help but worry that Ishikawa might be taking notes.

I'm looking forward to any "tell all" stories coming out of the Lotte organization this off season. The stories I've heard so far have been interesting. And I'm sure that I haven't heard the best of them.
Re: Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
[ Author: squampton | Posted: Oct 8, 2009 10:28 PM | RAK Fan ]

I hope at some point Bobby writes a book chronicling his experiences in Japan, both good and bad. It would be a fascinating read I'm sure.
Re: Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
[ Author: No.1BayFan | Posted: Oct 9, 2009 12:51 PM | YOK Fan ]

I really hope that Bobby moves across the bay and becomes the manager of certain Japanese Baseball team loctaed near a certain Kannai Station and rhymes with "DayMars".

Do the right thing and make it fun by the bay again.

Bobby BayStars 2010!
Re: Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
[ Author: gotigersredsox | Posted: Oct 9, 2009 6:13 PM ]

Well, the Bobby to Florida Marlins rumors have been squashed, so you still could get your wish BayFan. However, after such a bitter end in Kanto, I think Bobby should move to Kansai and take over for a certain terrible first-year manager with a girl's name.
Re: Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
[ Author: ht_fan | Posted: Oct 10, 2009 2:37 AM | HAN Fan ]

> Bobby should move to Kansai and take over for a
> certain terrible first-year manager with a girl's
> name.

I second that! ^__^;
Re: Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
[ Author: larryo | Posted: Oct 10, 2009 10:10 AM | HT Fan ]

The same thing happened to Bobby in his first year in Japan. In 1995. Bobby brought them out of the cellar to a second place finish. From Wikipedia-

"In 1995, Valentine began his first stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in the Japanese Pacific League. That season, the team surprised most Japanese baseball fans by finishing in second place (69-58-3), a remarkable feat for the Marines who had not won the Japanese Pacific league pennant since 1974. However, he was fired abruptly due to the personal conflict with general manager Tatsuro Hirooka,[1] despite having a two-year contract."

From what I gather the problem was not so much with Hirooka-san but with a high ranking executive in the organization that usurped and tried to sabotage Bobby all season. This executive (who never played baseball) was a thorn in Bobby's side all season.

Who owns the Marines now? And is Tatsuro Hirooka still a part of the team?

Also- I am a bit puzzled by the Marine's poor season. Bobby Valentine has proved himself to be a highly competent manager both in the Major Leagues and Japan. Any thoughts on why Chiba finished fifth?

Re: Final Party Can't Cover Ugly Mess
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 12, 2009 10:37 AM | YBS Fan ]

Both Hirooka and Takagi (the GM assistant "thorn in side") are long gone. 1996 didn't work out very well for them. But the Setoyama-president with Ishikawa-assistant combination sure does look familiar.

There were many things contributing to the fall of Lotte this season. For example, Ramppen-batting coach was "demoted" to only coaching the foreign players resulting in a serious drop in batting production for the team's Japanese players compared to the previous years.

As Allen-san mentions in his article, several other members of Bobby's support staff were also let go resulting in more work for less qualified people. While some may (and did) argue that the positions weren't really necessary or critical, well, you see the results.

The team is still owned by Takeo Shigemitsu, but as Valentine-kantoku had made the club more and more efficient, he's taken more of a hands-off approach to running the team, allowing his son Akio to be the one in charge. Bobby has stated that he's on very good terms with the Shigemitsu family, so I don't think that any of the interference is coming from them. Although the most praise for having vision I've heard has been toward Takeo.
Hirooka and Takagi redux
[ Author: larryo | Posted: Oct 12, 2009 12:33 PM | HT Fan ]

Thank you for that information westbaystars. I don't follow the Pacific League that closely.

It will be interesting to see what Mr. Valentine does next season.

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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