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Obana to manage BayStars in 2011

Team's proposed sale to JS Group Corp. falls apart

Kyodo

Takao Obana will return in 2011 as manager of the BayStars and the team will remain in Yokohama, club president Takao Kaji said Wednesday.

“(Obana) will be in the second year of a three-year contract,” Kaji said, after talks of the team’s proposed sale from Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings Inc. to JS Group Corp. fell apart. “We want him to honor his responsibility.”

The BayStars finished last in the Central League for the third straight season with the worst record in Japanese baseball. Obana is in his first managing job.

Kaji said he was informed of the failed negotiations by TBS Holdings on Wednesday morning.

Before talks broke down, JS Group had said all options were available for next season, including dismissing Obana and moving the team from Yokohama with Niigata as a possible destination.

“I’ve been told TBS will continue to back the team,” Kaji said. “I’m delighted to say that this franchise can keep playing in Yokohama. I hope we can make the necessary reforms and improvements to make this team a healthier organization.”

A change in ownership before next season has become highly unlikely for the BayStars. Any sale of a team needs the approval of the other owners and Nippon Professional Baseball’s executive committee by Nov. 30.

NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato said the world economic slump is taking its toll on Japanese baseball.

“We’ve been affected by the state of the Japanese and world economy,” Kato said. “If things do not turn around, this problem will persist. I realize each and every team is trying, but no team is perfect.

“Improvements must be made where they can.”