[1/9/2017] Kochi Fighting Dogs reach agreement with Manny Ramirez

The Shikoku Island League’s Kochi Fighting Dogs announced today that they reached an agreement with forty-four-year-old Manny Ramirez. Officials from the team met Ramirez near Miami, Florida on January 9. The two sides are still discussing his arrival schedule and contract length.

Also, YouTuber qoonin posted an interview with Ramirez. The interview is primarily in Spanish with Japanese subtitles. You can view the footage by clicking here. Below is a summary:

  • Why he decided to come out of retire – after spending time in the Dominican Republic, he started feeling the urge to play again.
  • When he seriously started thinking about a comeback – he started swinging the bat and started taking some batting practice in 2016. He felt he was in good condition and talked it over with his wife. He started thinking about a comeback in the fall. He decided to attempt a comeback because his wife also supported him.
  • Why he agreed to play for an independent league team in Japan – he received offers from teams in other countries, but picked Japan because of his interest in Japanese culture. He also said he liked the Japanese approach to baseball.
  • Would he accept an offer from an NPB team – he said yes and that he would use the opportunity to show everyone that he can still play.

Source: Kochi announcement, Kochi Facebook announcement

[UPDATE 1/10 @ 11:34pm]

Ramirez’s contract might be good for just the first-half of the season (about three months). The end of the contract should fall right around the end of July, which also coincides with the NPB signing deadline (July 31).

Source: Nikkan Sports 1/10/2017

[UPDATE 1/1 @ 9:46pm]

Ramirez found out the team was holding tryouts through online sources like Facebook and reached out to the team through Zak Colby in November. The team did not know how serious he was at first because communications were a bit slow at first, but things started rolling in December and the two sides started talking about a contract.

Source: ZakZak 1/11/2017

[UPDATE 2/27 @ 4:39pm]

Ramirez might arrive in Japan on either March 7 or 8. A press conference is scheduled for March 9. He is expected to join Kochi for practices beginning on March 10.

Ramire’z contract might be for about two months. Kochi is planning to use him at designated hitter batting fourth. His uniform number will be 99.

Source: Daily Sports 2/27/2017

[UPDATE 2/28 @ 5:46pm]

Kochi released Ramirez’s schedule today. He is set to arrive in Japan at Narita Airport on March 7 and take a connecting flight to Kochi on the same day. A press conference will be held on March 9. He will participate in his first practices with the team on March 10.

Source: Kochi 2/28/2017

[UPDATE 3/7 @ 11:07pm]

Ramirez arrived at Narita Airport in Japan earlier today with his wife. A number of fans (over thirty) greeted him at the airport.

Source: Tokyo Sports 3/7/2017, Daily Sports 3/7/2017, Daily Sports 3/7/2017Nikkan Sports 3/7/2017, Sponichi 3/7/2017

[UPDATE 3/9 @ 12:27pm]

There were six TV cameras, about fifty members of the media, and around fifty fans at the airport. Ramirez was able to sign thirty or so autographs before he had to leave. He arrived with eleven suitcases.

Source: ZakZak 3/9/2017

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