The news that everyone expected to hear was made official today – Lotte coach Norifumi Nishimura will be the new Kantoku for Lotte in 2010. I don’t think I am over-exaggerating to say that all of Lotte fandom is very sad indeed to see our beloved Valentine-Kantoku leave at the end of the year (I’ve been avoiding the topic more or less all year, as you may have noticed. This is a positive blog – We Love Marines – so I don’t like to dwell on the things I’m unhappy about. Perhaps once the season has ended and the bitter fan feelings subside a bit I’ll talk a bit more about it.).
Nevertheless, since change is in the air it’s good to see someone from the Lotte family promoted. For those unfamiliar with Coach Nishimura’s resume, he played for Lotte for all 16 years of his NPB playing career, leading the league in batting average in 1990 and led in stolen bases from 1986-1989. He won Golden Gloves as both a second baseman and an outfielder, was a 5-time All Star, and made two Best Nine teams. He’s currently the Lotte 3rd base coach. (Thanks, Japanese Wikipedia!)
Hopefully his familiarity with the players and fans will lead to a smooth transition and a nice 2010 campaign!