YOKOHAMA – Alex Ramirez was unveiled as the new BayStars manager in Yokohama on Wednesday, and the Venezuelan first-time skipper was not shy in making clear that his goal for next season is nothing less than a Central League pennant.
“It’s a privilege for me to be here and to give these wonderful fans what they’ve been waiting for, for many years — to win the championship,” Ramirez said at a press conference in Yokohama.
“I always thought that this would be the best place for me to start my career as a manager. Today it is a dream come true.”
As the only foreign player to get 2,000 hits in Nippon Professional Baseball, Ramirez said he expects that his playing success will translate to success in the dugout.
“I had a great career as a baseball player and that is the reason why this organization believes that this is the right time for me to be a manager,” said a confident Ramirez.
With the BayStars missing the playoffs in 2015, Ramirez knows he has a lot of work in front of him if he is to reach that ultimate goal. He sees promise in a squad that he says is young, and hungry.
“Last year the first half of the season was great, (in the) second half the team came down a little bit, we cannot ignore those things, we have to learn from those things and bring them to next year. Try to see the mistakes we made last year and we have to change those mistakes in a positive way,” he said.
“Our team is a very young team and we have a lot of passion, we have to do things the right way, to be consistent and to win the championship.”
“I strongly believe our team can be very aggressive, be aggressive when we need to be aggressive . . .We have a great pitching staff, I believe we can put it together. Our offense we’re working to put the pieces together to combine the two.”
As the first foreign manager in the Central League since Marty Brown managed the Carp between 2006 and 2009, Ramirez knows that his managerial style may make or break his time in Yokohama, but he is confident that he has the tools to make it work.
“I would like to be a manager that has a good relationship with the players,” said Ramirez. “I would like to be a very aggressive manager and I would like to teach my players that baseball is a mind game.”
“I have played under four managers in Japan and I have learned a little bit of everything from each manager. I would love to use my own style of managing but it is also good to have things from other managers that can really help me to gather the team together.”
Results will decide whether this experiment will be judged a success, but with his time playing for the Yakult Swallows, Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama before finishing his career with Gunma Diamond Pegasus in the independent B.C. League, Ramirez has as good of a chance as any to turn around the Baystars’ future fortunes.
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