it was neither ‘Legend’ Ichiro nor ‘Godzilla’ Matsui… Ibata appointed as Japan’s new head coach “Official announcement soon

As coach Hideki Kuriyama laid down the baton after lifting the World Baseball Classic (WBC) championship trophy, numerous ‘legend’ candidates were mentioned. And it looks like the head coach of Samurai Japan (the name of the Japanese national team) has finally been decided.

Multiple local media outlets, including Japan’s Sankei Sports and Daily Sports, reported on the 27th (Korean time), “The National Baseball Organization (NPB) has requested the appointment of Hirokazu Ibata as the next coach of Samurai Japan.”

Ibata is one of the many ‘legends’ representing Japan and began his professional career after being selected by the Chunichi Dragons in the 5th round of the 1997 Japanese professional baseball rookie draft. Ibata played for Chunichi for 15 years before moving to the Yomiuri Giants in 2014, and took off his active uniform after the 2015 season.

Ibata played in 1,896 games over a total of 17 seasons in his professional career, recording 1,912 hits, 56 home runs, 510 RBIs, 831 runs, 149 stolen bases, a batting average of 0.281, and an OPS of 0.706. In 2013, he joined the WBC national team and played in 6 games, scoring 10 hits, 4 RBIs, and 6 runs. He contributed greatly to helping the Japanese national team reach third place.

His experience as a coach is extensive. After retiring from active duty, Ibata served as a coach at Yomiuri from the 2016 to 2018 seasons and walked the path of leadership. He played infield defense and base running for the Japanese national team in the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (ABPC), WBSC Premier 12 in 2019, and Tokyo in 2021. He served as coach of the national team at the Olympics and helped the Japanese national team win the championship, and served as the head coach of the U-12 national team from 2022 to 2023.

The position of coach of the Japanese national team has been ‘vacant’ since coach Hideki Kuriyama laid down the baton after winning the WBC championship. Former coach Kuriyama hinted at his resignation immediately after winning the WBC, saying, “Considering the future Japanese national team, having a new person as coach will help the future of baseball,” and his retirement was confirmed upon the end of his term on the 31st. He went on to say, “There’s going to be a director coming that everyone wants to do.”토토사이트

After Manager Kuriyama’s resignation, candidates include ‘Legend’ Ichiro Suzuki and ‘Godzilla’ Hideki Matsui, Kimiyasu Kudo, who led the ‘dynasty’ of the Softbank Hawks, Tadahito Iguchi, who previously played for the Chicago White Sox and served as the head coach of Chibar Lotte, Many people, including Yoshinobu Takahashi, who was Yomiuri’s ‘one-club man’ and even took on the position of manager, were mentioned, and it appears that Ibata will be appointed as the new manager.

Sankei Sports said, “There are no obstacles to Ibata’s acceptance of the position as coach, and his inauguration is certain. An announcement is expected to be made soon, and an inauguration press conference will be held early next week,” and “Coach Kuriyama is resigning due to the expiration of his contract, and he will be appointed as a successor.” “Although there were difficulties in personnel, Ibata’s experience in contributing to the gold medal as a national team coach at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was evaluated, and he was unified as a candidate for the new coach,” he said.

If Ibata is officially appointed as coach, he will lead the national team starting from the APBC held in Tokyo in November. ‘Sankei Sports’ said, “The 3rd Premier 12 will be held in November next year, starting with the APBC held at Tokyo Dome from November 16th,” and “the WBC, which aims to win the tournament for the second time in a row, is scheduled to be held in the spring of 2026, which is expected to be held in the spring of 2026.” “It has not been decided whether he will be in command, and there will be adjustments in the future,” he added.

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