The Kochi Fighting Dogs held a press conference for Manny Ramirez at a hotel in Kochi earlier today. He donned the uniform 99 with the name Manny above it. About 130 people attended the press conference (media, sponsors, team personnel).
Notes taken from various sources:
- Playing in Japan was one of his dreams and he is glad it came true.
- He wants to show baseball fans what he is still capable of accomplishing.
- He wants to play for as long as he is passionate about the game.
- He is open to play in the NPB and will talk to any team interested in him.
- He went with Manny because most people in Japan will probably think of Alex Ramirez if they see Ramirez.
- Kochi plans to guarantee a spot as a designated hitter with at least two plate appearances. If he wants to do more, they will consider it.
- He is slated to join the team tomorrow (March 10) at Ochi Sogo Sports Park for practices. Depending on his condition, he might be able to play in the Pro/Amateur tournament on March 11 and 12.
Source: Kochi 3/7/2017 (uniform), Kochi Manny Gallery, Kochi Pin Badge, Kochi Manny Section, Tokyo Sports 3/9/2017, Daily Sports 3/9/2017, Daily Sports 3/9/2017, Sports Hochi 3/9/2017, Sponichi 3/9/2017, Nikkan Sports 3/9/2017, Nikkan Sports 3/9/2017, Nikkan Sports 3/9/2017, Nikkan Sports 3/9/2017
[UPDATE 3/11 @ 2:43am]
Ramirez practiced with the team on March 10.
- He arrived right on time (9:30am).
- About thirty members of the media and around 100 fans were in attendance.
- He took fifty-three swings during live batting practice and hit four to five over the fence.
A few other notes.
- He has been given use of a Mercedes Benz. Team staff will drive him around.
- He is staying in a suite at a hotel. Valued at about 80,000 yen a night.
- He has been promised all the sushi he wants to eat while he is with the team.
- Kochi is planning to open an English site offering Manny merchandise.
- Practices are apparently optional.
Source: Tokyo Sports 3/10/2017, Tokyo Sports 3/10/2017, Daily Sports 3/10/2017, Daily Sports 3/10/2017, Nikkan Sports 3/10/2017, Sports Hochi 3/10/2017
[UPDATE 3/11 @ 6:09pm]
Notes from March 11.
- He did not play in today’s exhibition game against Kochi University.
- He is still battling jet lag.
- He participated in pre-game practices. He took indoor batting practice after warm-ups and playing catch.
- He ate udon for lunch. He also ate a rice ball and teppanyaki (grilled) chicken.
- He stayed and watch the game until the fifth inning.
- He might be able to play in tomorrow’s exhibition game against Shikoku Ginko.
Source: Daily Sports 3/11/2017, Tokyo Sports 3/11/2017
[UPDATE 3/16 @ 3:26pm]
Ramirez played in his first exhibition game with Kochi today. He got the start at designated hitter and batted lead-off against the Nomo Baseball Club.
- 1B6 in the first
- G1 with a runner on second and one out in the second
- G6 with none on and two out in the fourth
- 2B8 with a runner on second and two out in the sixth
Source: Daily Sports 3/16/2017