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Other than the timing, the news of Tatsunori Hara’s decision to step down as manager of the Yomiuri Giants didn’t exactly come out of left field.

For one, there had been rumblings that this season might be Hara’s last since at least September. So it wasn’t hard to imagine he was doffing his cap toward Giants fans for the last time as manager while making the walk from the dugout to the visitor’s clubhouse at Jingu Stadium on Saturday, following the 3-2 loss to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows that ended Yomiuri’s playoff run.

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