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Haruki Ihara made sure the Seibu Lions kept their hair black, their faces free of stubble and their pant legs high. The idea was to make them look professional. But it doesn’t matter how good you look if you’re losing.

Ihara wasn’t able to turn Seibu into a winner, and so last week, 53 games into his second stint with the team, the manager announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence because of the Lions’ poor performance to begin the year.

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