Hey, hey, hey everyone, this is Bobby V calling from beautiful Kagoshima. So much has happened the past couple days and it is almost impossible to tell you everything, but I will do my best to share all these wonderful times with you. I want to try to catch you up with things and hopefully the pictures will also help show you how the team is doing and how I am doing.


"Elf-chan, come here boy!"


"Good boy! Let's tell this blog entry together!"

Kagoshima is a beautiful port city and out in the distance, about 40 km away, is the magnificent Sakurajima, the active volcanic island. It’s beautiful to see in the morning and evening, as you can see in some of the photos. But more often than not we have not been able to see it as it has been cloudy, foggy, rainy, and cold almost everyday we’ve been here, that is until today. During that cold time, however, we had indoor practice and we practiced outside 2 days ago where we got all of our work done. It’s a fabulous indoor facility that Kagoshima provides us with, the problem is that it is 5 blocks from the main field and it takes the guys either a long walk or short drive in traffic to get there. Some of the other guys brought their bikes to scoot on over there. But we all have to move around when we go on from one session to another. And we have to move large groups of people from the main field to the indoor arena. At the indoor arena we have an Astroturf field, batting cages, and pitching mounds, and so we are able to get our full day’s work accomplished. Here in Kagoshima we are trying to mirror the operation of Geelong, Australia where we had three fields together and we moved from one to another to another, in and out of batting cages, and in and out of bullpens for the pitchers. It’s a little more difficult to do that here, however. Actually, it’s a lot more difficult here because you need to have transportation to move you around.


Cold weather but warm feelings!


Lots of autographs for the kids.


Talking to Shu of DEEN about baseball.


Shu, are you going to play for the Marines?!?


Group photo!

To be in this great city of Kagoshima, however, has been fantastic so far. We were welcomed with a parade attended by 40,000 people strong and bestowed honors for last year’s accomplishments. The fans lined the streets and the city furnished great vintage convertible cars from the 1930s as well as 1960s vintage Cadillacs.


What a wonderful day for a parade!













All the Marines players heading to the WBC, along Kobayash-senshu, Fukuda-senshu, manager Setoyama-san and I got to ride atop the convertibles and be with our ardent and supportive fans. Most of the other members were in buses that followed the procession. It was such a special feeling to see people with their cameras who have their team jerseys on, the team flags waving, and the smiles of championship fever on their faces. It is very hard to replace or duplicate the feeling and I am very thankful to the fans of Kagoshima for coming out.

After that we went to the main train station in Kagoshima where we were welcomed by 4000 other fans. We displayed our championship flags – the Pacific League title flag, the Japan Series title flag, and the Asian series title flag. The mayor and other dignitaries gave speeches, as did I and manager Setoyama-san.


Event at the train station.








Surprise!





As I mentioned in my last blog entry, on our off day I spent time at dinner with the 8 members who will represent Chiba Lotte Marines on the national team of Japan in the WBC – Shimizu-senshu, Watanabe-senshu, Kobayashi-senshu, Fujita-senshu, Yabuta-senshu, Imae-senshu, Nishioka-senshu, and Satozaki-senshu, who came late because he was filming a TV commercial, were all present and we shared a great dinner and had a wonderful time. I told them about the desire to be great and how that desire in this type of situation, especially at the beginning of the season, has to be put on the back burner and that their play and enjoyment of the game of baseball has to be put on the front burner in order for them to be successful is what is important now. They have to understand that this first WBC tournament is to be cherished and remembered and enjoyed as they play it. Also, I let them know that my very good friend, Brad Lefton (scroll down to the bottom of the linked page to read about him), who has done documentaries with Ichiro and has written two books with me in Japan, and has worked with NHK in the past and again with them now for the WBC, will be at their beck and call if they need help when they are in the US from an English-speaking person or someone who knows a little something about the MLB or WBC. Brad is there for them. I thank Brad for his hospitality and generosity to help and share with my players.

Yesterday was our off-day but we had exercise in the morning and a work out with a couple of the younger players like Hayasaka-senshu and Nemoto-senshu who went to the indoor arena to work with in-field coach Frank Ramppen on tag plays, double plays, fielding slow hit ground balls, taking batting practice, and bunting for base hits.


What do you mean my check's not good!?!


Bobby, Frank Ramppen with sons Zack and Frankie (a.k.a Bam Bam)

When that session was over I went to the onsen at the Sun Royal Hotel, a glorious place I must say, looked out at Sakurajima.

After that I got ready for dinner with our owner-daiko Shigemitsu-san who flew in to meet me, Setoyama-san, and Koji Takashi-san at 6 pm. (Takahashi-san has been with me for so long and I must talk more about it another time). The problem was it was so foggy and overcast the plane was diverted to Fukuoka. So the owner of our team, a worldly and important man who has traveled on business all over Asia, Europe and the Americas, from India to Korea to Russia to Japan and to the US, took the time to then take a 3-hour train ride from Fukuoka to Kagoshima to meet us was such a wonderful thing. Thus, rather than dine at 6 pm we got together around 9:30 pm at the Sun Royal Hotel and shared a wonderful time talking about the team as well as the various activities of the Lotte company, such as their malls in Moscow, candy companies in India, and IPO in Korea, not to mention their love for the Marines.


Shigemitsu-san, daiko owner, and Bobby


Bobby and the team from Seiko Shokukin.

After that I got a good night sleep and got up this morning at 7 am for a 1-hour bike ride around this fabulous city.


Just love that Sakurajima!

Once practice began we were greeted by president of Pacific League Koike-san and Shigemitsu-san, our owner-daiko, cheered the team and wished us a great season. Also during the day’s events I received a bat made from a 3,000 year old tree, the trunk of which is nearly 2 stories high and can be seen in the lobby of the Kagoshima train station, is the Yaku Sugi tree from Yakushima.


Some fans at Kagoshima Station and the Yaku Sugi tree.

The Lotte Marines’ Head Coach and third base coach, Norifumi Nishimura-san's friend Ukari-san, an ex-ballplayer from the Hiroshima Carp, gave it to me. In fact, I saw the trunk of the tree at the Kagoshima station the day of the parade. It was there that Nishimura-san, Kobayashi-san and I went to the Shinkansen train and I, with a conductor’s hat on, sent off the Shinkansen to the place Nishimura-san had played many years ago. Check out the pics.


All aboard!


Nishimura-san, Bobby and Ukari-san.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Head Coach Nishimura-san, a man who played 15 years the in majors in Japan, led the Pacific League in stolen bases 4 times, and led the league in hitting in 1990 when he hit .338. Nishimura-san is the best head coach in all of baseball and was a fine player for me in 1995 – he had an excellent career as a switch hitting center fielder.

Out on the field he communicates my signs to the players. The plays I want put on during the game. He communicates those wishes and commands through sign and body language and the players then read those signs and execute plays like a bunt, a hit, run, steal, squeeze play, or any of the other plays we may have. He is the manager on the field. He stops the runners from running to home plate or sends them home when the opportunity arises or brings them from 2nd base to 3rd base. He directs traffic as a 3rd base coach. Also, as head coach, his role is invaluable to the kantoku and, in my case, doubly so. Nishimura-san plans the day’s activities and makes sure I understand all the travel arrangements and all the circumstances that are involved in dealing with the Japanese professional baseball league. He also helps channel information from the other coaches and players on the team (things like misunderstandings or disputes or other issues) to me. I also send my information very often to the other coaches, auxiliary staff, and players through him. He is my right-hand man and I could not exist without him. He is one wonderful guy, caring, hard-working, and dedicated to his job. When you talk about passion and commitment, which I think are the two keys to any relationship, he has passion for his job and the game of baseball and is totally committed to my way of doing things and the Lotte Corporation and team. Hats off to Nishimura-san and this gift is really amazing.

If we could only have more days of weather like today…So let me tell you about it! It was a glorious day of practice, from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, in 65 degree Fahrenheit weather and the sun was shining.


The facilities in Kagoshima.

We had pitchers pitching and live batting practice in situational game play where players get to work on hit and runs, with runners on 3rd base, bunting, execution on defense and offense. I think that we became a better team today by practicing team plays that are necessary. Some stand out players today included Tsuji-senshu, our catcher. Knowing that Satozaki-senshu will be in the WBC, he seized the opportunity and in his 3 innings of catching and threw out all the players that attempted to steal – all 15 of them. Now, of course, the track was slow because it had rained the entire day before and we had spent the morning trying to dry field out so the field was still mud-stricken for the batters to take their breaks and make slides into base hence their efficiency was less than 100%. But Tsuji-senshu made great throws and he impressed the coaches. All in all, many players excelled today, like Benny Agbayani who hit a home run on the first pitch thrown to him. And Kato-senshu and Uchi-senshu also looked good in practice. So many of the players looked good in this practice… I am proud of their display of game situation understanding and play. We ended practice at 4:30 pm, signed autographs, held interviews, and then I went off to my 6:30 pm dinner with my minor league manager Koga-san and NY Mets scout and Chiba Lotte Marines’ advisor, Isao Ojimi-san. These are two guys who, like me, live and breathe baseball. They walk it, talk it and think it 24 hours a day. To spend 3 hours talking baseball, about the players I have at camp with me, as well as future stars from the minors, is very refreshing and inspiring. Koga-san and I shared notes as to what buttons might need to be pushed on certain players that he had in the past year or two that are now with me as well as players that we both had but who are now elsewhere – we wanted to know how we can make them better when they return to Japan and how Koga-san can get to work with them upon their return.

Isao Ojimi, who has the longest tenure with any MLB team in Asia, then shared his thoughts on what he saw at our practice; he gives a refreshing and thoughtful perspective that I like to call upon. He is certainly an inspiring guy. We all learned a lot during what was a great dinner here in Kagoshima.


The restaurant chef, Ojimi-san, Bobby, and Koga-san.

On that note, thanks for all the comments, please keep them coming and I hope you continue enjoying “Bobby’s Way.”


Farewell Kagoshima. Farewell Sakurajima. And thank you!

Good night.



Bobby
LET US DO IT AGAIN!

P.S. The TV commercial we filmed can be seen in the Fukuoka area as well as in Marine Stadium.


Bobby, Fujiwara-san and Fukuyama-san on Kagoshima TV.


Being interviewed by Matsuki-san on FM Kagoshima.


Thank you fans!


Enjoying a meal with the team.


Check out this huge poster!


That's what I like to see!


Lots of photos with the wonderful people of Kagoshima


















Final day of touring around the city.


Thanks for telling the story to Elf-chan!

Last Day in Kagoshima! Lots to tell you and show you! コメント数:15 (15 Comments)

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  1. Suzuki さんのコメント: (Suzuki says):

    写真いっぱい、文章いっぱいで、すごく楽しいです!
    車掌姿のボビー、かっこいい!!!

    (Lots of photos! Lots of text! That’s awesome!
    You wearing the train conductor’s hat was cooool!!!)

  2. chi-ko さんのコメント: (chi-ko says):

    監督こんにちは!
    DEENの記事を載せて下さってありがとう御座います!!
    凄く嬉しいです☆
    是非池森さんの入団をご検討下さい。良い仕事しますよ〜(笑)

    エルフchan可愛い(≧▽≦)
    車掌姿の監督、本当に素敵です♪

    たくさんの写真を載せていただきありがとう御座います。
    鹿児島の方々の声が聞こえてきそうです!

    また来ます (^^)/

    from chi-ko

    (Hi again Kantoku!
    Thanks for putting up those photos of DEEN!!
    I am so very happy☆
    Definitely consider Ikemori-san for the team! He’ll do a great job, I’m sure (LOL)

    And Elf-chan was adorable(≧▽≦)
    You looked great in the train conductor’s hat too♪

    Thanks for putting up so many photos.
    I think the people of Kagoshima can really hear your voice!

    I’ll be back (^^)/

    from chi-ko)

  3. Fuhito さんのコメント: (Fuhito says):

    I looked at the photo of the parade in Kagoshima. So I remember that the parade in Chiba on Nov ‘05. It was a very very exited experience for me. I would like to watch the parade Nov ‘06 again !

  4. さんのコメント: (猿 says):

    エルフかわいいですね

    (Elf is cute.)

  5. かめ裕輔 さんのコメント: (かめ裕輔 says):

    監督こんばんわ、今日は、写真が多いいですね。
    エルフちゃんかわいいですねー。
    早くマリンスタジアムでみたいです。

    (Good evening Kantoku. Looks like you have lots of photos to share today.
    Elf-chan is so cute!
    I can’t wait to see Elf-chan at Marine Stadium.)

  6. 南風 さんのコメント: (南風 says):

    短い期間でしたが 鹿児島で過ごした期間がこれからの糧になりますよう
    お祈りいたします!ひたむきに努力する事 周りのヒトを尊重し認める事って
    なかなか出来ません。こんなボスなら私もついて行きたい!と思うのでした!
    これからの ブログとご活躍を楽しみにしています。

    (Though your time in Kagoshima was short I pray that it was helpful and met your needs!
    You are the type of boss that shows an eagerness for doing things as well as esteem for those around you, and I would very much want to follow someone like you!
    I am very much looking forward to seeing what’s next on the blog.)

  7. rio さんのコメント: (rio says):

    こんばんは!
    鹿児島ではご苦労さまでした。
    鹿児島は去年と比べていかがでしたか?
    写真たくさんみせて頂きました。パレードはお天気を心配しました。
    私もサンロイヤルホテルでメッセージを拝見しました。
    たくさんの応援メッセージありましたね。すごい。
    監督、これからも頑張ってくださいね。

    (Good evening!
    You did a fine job in Kagoshima.
    Compared to last year, how was Kagoshima this year?
    Thanks for sharing so many photos. I was a bit worried about the weather for the parade.
    I too saw the message at the Sun Royal Hotel Kagoshima.
    There were so many messages from fans and supporters. It was awesome.
    Moving forward, continue to do your best!)

  8. はたぼう。 さんのコメント: (はたぼう。 says):

    今回も盛り沢山の内容で楽しかったです!
    リクエストをさせていただいたDEENの記事が載っていて嬉しかったです!
    もう、DEENはMarinesの一員ですよね♪

    エルフちゃんの特訓の様子は、「ポチたま」でも見ています!
    日に日に上達していくエルフちゃんの開幕での初お仕事が楽しみです!
    ルリちゃんもガンバレ!!

    鹿児島で優勝パレードをして、またまた沢山の方々に祝福されて、
    九州にも千葉があるみたいで本当に嬉しいですネ!
    鹿児島キャンプはとても短い日数でしたが、ジーロン同様、内容の濃い
    1日1日を過ごされたようですね!
    もう少しで千葉に帰ってくるボビーとMarinesをジーロンと鹿児島の方々に
    負けないくらいあたたかくお迎えしたいと思います!

    お忙しい中、ファンのために近況報告をし、1つ1つコメントを読んで下さり、
    本当にありがとうございます。
    これからも、楽しみにしています☆彡

    P.S.ホークスのCM、マリンスタジアムで観られる事を楽しみにしています♪
       リクエストに答えていただいてありがとうございました!

    (It was great to see loads of stuff on the blog today!
    And to see the bits about DEEN was great! It made me happy!
    So, DEEN are now part of the Marines I see♪
    Ruri-chan, ganbare!

    After seeing the victory parade in Kagoshima and the well-wishes of lots of fans, it looks like the Kyushu has the same vigor and energy as Chiba!
    Though your stay in Kagoshima was short, like Geelong you seem to have made the most of your time there and thus a very rewarding experience.
    But when you come back to Chiba we will give you a welcome unmatched by the people of Geelong or Kagoshima!

    Though you are so very busy, thank you very much for reading each one of these fan comments. I am very much looking forward to continuing to read the blog. ☆彡

    P.S. I am also very much looking forward to seeing the Hawks commercial on the big screen at Lotte Marines Stadium♪ And thank you for taking our requests!)

  9. 潮風 さんのコメント: (潮風 says):

    写真と話が沢山で、とても見ごたえがありました。
    しかも、テレビや新聞には掲載されてないことばかりなので、見ていてとても楽しいです。

    (It was really worth seeing the blog with so many photos and text.
    Since the press isn’t covering all that you have been talking about it is great to see the blog.)

  10. Deanna さんのコメント: (Deanna says):

    I agree, this blog does a great job of both covering the Marines in ways that the press isn’t, and more importantly, doing so in English and in Japanese. Thank you so much! The pictures are great, too. I hope you can continue this during the season.

    I have been reading every day but haven’t had a comment to make until now — I’m hoping that the Hawks-Marines commercial can be put up on the Marines web site at some point so that Marines fans everywhere can see it! It looks like they had a lot of fun filming it.

  11. よん さんのコメント: (よん says):

    こんにちは、ボビー!!! 今回は写真と文章がいつもに増していっぱいで嬉しかったです\^0^/ 鹿児島の人たちはみなさん熱い人が多いんですね。ボビーの写真と文を見てそう思いました。鹿児島は景色も美しいし、ボビーとマリーンズが熱烈に歓迎されたんだなぁというのがすごくよくわかりました。それにしてもエルフちゃんはかわいくて賢いワンちゃんですね!!!癒されました。あとCM放送の件、教えてくれてありがとうございます、ボビー。私もマリスタに応援に行ったときCMよーく見ますね。また書き込みしますね。ばいばい

    (Hello Bobby! Your blog entry this time was loaded with photos and text and it was wonderful! \^0^/
    The people of Kagoshima truly are a warm bunch. I could tell that from the photos. I could easily see how beautiful the views were and how warm the welcome from the people of Kagoshima was from the pics. And it was easy to see how cute and clever Elf-chan was! The blog entry did wonders for me. Also, thank you for telling us about the airing of the TV commercial. When I go to Marines Stadium I always check out the commercials on the large screen. I’ll be back to write more. Bye bye.)

  12. caravaggio さんのコメント: (caravaggio says):

    Hi!! Bobby!! I am a Marines-fan in Taiwan. Its nice to read so much more information from you. I watched the game in February 28th, and need to say thank you. Chinese Taipei Baseball Team really demand high-level competitiveness to catch up with Japan and Korea. I suggest my countrymen getting ahead efficiently by contesting with Marines.The game told a lot of things to players in Taiwan. Takehara and Pascucci have done great. I hope that they will succeed in the coming season. Finally, I notice Marines need more left-hand starter to cover Katoh.Why not give Ed Yarnall who had played for Orix a chance? Or Damian Moss??

  13. ろって ファン さんのコメント: (ろって ファン says):

    西村コーチの事は現役時代からもちろん知ってます。しかし、その当時はとにかくパリーグがメディアに載る事が少なく僕の能力では個人成績でしかその選手を判断できませんでした。今回バレンタイン監督が紹介してくれたことで西村コーチの素顔が少し分かって嬉しいです。

    (Of course, Coach Nishimura is known from his days of active ballplaying. However, at the time he was a player the media covered very little about the Pacific League so it is hard to knore more about his stats. Thanks to you for introducing more of him to us we can get a better idea of who he is.)

  14. caravaggio さんのコメント: (caravaggio says):

    I find Mike Bacsik is non-roster invitee of Natonals. Bacsik is a fomer Met and I think maybe Bobby remember this guy.

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