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Third-party report on ball scandal critical of commissioner

Kyodo

An investigating body looking into the turmoil surrounding the secret modification of Nippon Professional Baseball’s official ball, indicated Friday that commissioner Ryozo Kato is ultimately responsible.

Kato, who had insisted since the start that he would not resign over the flap caused when his office ordered balls be made livelier to conform to NPB’s rules but kept the change secret. Despite his initial stance, Kato announced on Sept. 19 his intention to resign prior to the start of this year’s Japan Series on Oct. 25.

Although the teams were not informed of the change ordered by NPB secretary general Kunio Shimoda last fall, one Pacific League executive told Kyodo News, “Shimoda will have to leave, but there is no reason for the commissioner to quit.”

The report criticized the commissioner as being a part-time leader and for the lack of accountability shown by the organization that leads NPB, saying reform is necessary. The report recommended that the body be transformed into one with accountability.