“You can play baseball at six universities just by studying!” The students of the University of Tokyo baseball club, who spend their time on baseball, whether they have the top-level brains in Japan, always use their qualities to train for victory, even if the victory is far away. .. However, aside from the main force, the base of the players who can not play in the game is not fulfilled. What is the important thing that the elite get from the days of losing?
(Click here for the first part)
In the chest of a player who can not participate in the game
The three people who appeared in the first part are all the main players. In the University of Tokyo baseball club, which has more than 130 people, there are many members who cannot stand on the stage of the six universities. The road to Jingu is steep.
Infielder Takumi Sasaki (4th year, Rakunan High School) is also one of the reserves. The last season ended with only one match in the league.
“In the first and second years, I was able to get a lot of participation in the fresh league centered on junior students, but the number of turns decreased on behalf of the director. so……”
Is it your play or the victory of the team? I was worried and finally came to a conclusion.
“I had never won until I was in the 4th grade, so I gave priority to the team’s victory. Except for people like Shohei Ohtani who throw and hit by themselves, due to the characteristics of the baseball game, one person. It is unlikely that you will be able to win the team with. I am also a player, so I must not run away from not being able to play in the game, but I realized that playing in the game is not the only way to contribute to victory, so I voluntarily I became involved in analysis. I want to play in the game and I am in a position to organize the analysis team. It was difficult to control the two selves, which are in conflict. “
I wanted to ask the members of the University of Tokyo baseball club as it is, so I couldn’t.
That is the purpose of devoting yourself to baseball. Many of the members of other universities continue to be active professionals and working people, or try to make use of their baseball achievements in employment. Baseball is a means for them.
――But the University of Tokyo students who already have a passport for their lives are different. What is the reason for playing baseball?
“For us students at the University of Tokyo, it may be an extra thing that we don’t have to play baseball, and it may be better to learn English. But somehow, because it’s extra, we can be serious about winning. It’s not about becoming a professional or something like that, so I think you can focus by winning. “
Baseball is not a means but a purpose for the University of Tokyo students. Sasaki says he can focus on winning because he doesn’t ask for a reward. In an era when only productivity and efficiency are touted, talented people immerse themselves in baseball with a selfless spirit. Perhaps this is the best part of the University of Tokyo baseball club.
By the way, this interview was conducted online because of the corona sickness, and Mr. Sasaki responded to the interview in his room at “Issei Dormitory” where the members of the University of Tokyo Baseball Club A team live. An idol calendar is affixed to the wall of the room, which changed from a shared room to a single room when it was rebuilt two years ago.
――Who is behind (calendar)?
“Oh, this is Nogizaka, and the back is Sakurazaka.”
――I like hills.
“Yes. My recommendation is Hikaru Morita, Sakurazaka’s center. Please write this firmly.”
I would like to mention the name of “Hikaru Morita” once again, including the meaning of the envy of Mr. Sasaki, who has been struggling on the baseball road while worrying.
The brain that was responsible for the strategy of two wins this year
The analysis department, headed by Mr. Sasaki, was launched two years ago in December. From this time, the “University of Tokyo Baseball Club DX Project” started, and the center of this project was student coach and analyst Amane Saito (4th grade, Sakura Shukan High School).
“In the fall when I was in the second grade, a machine called Trackman (which quantifies ball speed, rotation speed, flight distance, etc.) was introduced at Jingu Stadium, and it became possible to obtain numbers that could not be obtained until now. When I heard that Keio and Hosei were analyzing such data, I thought we couldn’t lose. “
In fact, according to Mr. Saito, the University of Tokyo baseball club has many members who are strong in numbers.
“In addition, many of us have both studied and baseball in junior high school and high school, so we have the mindset to get the maximum results in a limited time, and at the same time we can enjoy the data. I think”
This year, when he became a top-class student, Saito set a goal of winning five wins in the two seasons of spring and autumn. The reality was harsh, but the University of Tokyo, which had no white stars in the past three seasons, won two wins.
He refined his quick-acting base running and succeeded in stealing 24 bases in 10 games in the spring. Also, sometimes a bold defensive shift. The two victories were also the product of a probability-focused strategy.
There is also a personal reason why Mr. Saito set a bold goal of five wins.
“This season was also a job hunting for me.”
“I wanted to become an analyst in a professional baseball team. As part of my job hunting, I started actively posting on Twitter and blogs. Seeing what the University of Tokyo baseball club DX plan will be like. I think getting it is the most appealing thing. “
Since Mr. Saito will enter the professional baseball world, he has declined the job offer of the company that has already been decided. The decision around here seems to be a University of Tokyo student who positively thinks that “it will be somehow”.
The best masterpiece of the University of Tokyo baseball club that laughs cheerfully
Takashi Ide, who became the director at the age of 75 in 2020, will decorate the interview series of the University of Tokyo baseball club, which has become like an interview.
The University of Tokyo has produced six professional baseball players in the past, and Mr. Ide is one of them. During his active career in Chunichi, he was active as a pitcher and outfielder. Even after retiring, he has served as a second army coach and all coaches of the first and second armies in China and Japan, and is also in charge of organization and public relations as a front desk, and has a track record of introducing a motion analysis room as soon as possible. And he went up to the team representative.
Half a century after graduating from the University of Tokyo, the commander who returned to his alma mater after enjoying the professional world says.
“I wanted to be a coach at the University of Tokyo at the end of my baseball life. I wanted to do it a little earlier.”
The 75-year-old habit of knocking himself every day is “If you do it, do it again.”
“Is it the University of Tokyo’s strength? Ah, I don’t have any technical strength. But I have nothing to lose, and I’m ready to break the jade. It’s hard to win because it’s natural. There is a chance. Maybe I’ll be born. The University of Tokyo will continue to have games that I can’t win, so it can be depressing, but I’m telling the players, “If you do it, do it again.”
――What are you thinking about the University of Tokyo, which is difficult to win?
“Ahaha. When I first imagined the director of the University of Tokyo, I wondered what to do if I succeeded in winning the championship. I’m going to the Japan Championships as a champion of six universities. I was worried that it would be difficult to play a match that I had to win. But the University of Tokyo doesn’t go that far. Well, I want to raise the ranking even by one. I want to win if I have a chance. Ufufufufu “
I laughed at the word “Rokudai Champion” that jumped out suddenly. The commander, who has divided the acidity and sweetness of baseball, laughs happily when he hears something. The joy of aiming for victory with older juniors who devote themselves to baseball without seeking a reward is also transmitted online.
“Unlike our time, today’s students are so hard at baseball that they rarely quit, and some students head-slide to first base. I say,’It’s faster to run through.'” However, the players say “I want to express my feelings” and go from the head. I think that is also valuable and let me do it. “
With that said, Director Ide laughed again, “Ahaha.”
A few days after finishing the “interview” with the players and managers of the University of Tokyo baseball club, I caught my eye on the net news.
《Data analyst of the University of Tokyo baseball club, entering Softbank》
It seems that Mr. Saito’s “entering professional baseball” has been decided.
I remember his words in the interview.
“It seems that there is an atmosphere in the Japanese sports world that does not want to go the shortest distance to the result. It doesn’t make sense to be with me. “
“Unusual” young people from the University of Tokyo baseball club who devote themselves to losing games even though they are winners. After exchanging words with them, I thought. From such a group of individuality groups, a changer who will change tomorrow’s baseball may be born.
Banner photo: Tokyo Big6 Baseball League 2021 Defeats Hosei University in the spring league match, stops consecutive losses at 64 and is impressed by Todai Nine (May 23, 2021, Jingu Stadium) Joint