…just not the one you were hoping for. Months after Nippon Professional Baseball officials admitted Japanese offensive numbers have been blostered by their employment of juiced balls, the man whose signature appeared on sald balls, Commissioner Ryozo Kato (shown above) have announced his resignation. From the Japan Times :
The 72-year-old Kato, who was elected to a third two-year term in July last year, said he will quit after the regular season, which ends Oct. 6, but no later than Oct. 25 — the day before the Japan Series starts.
“I caused a lot of problems over the ball, and that was a huge reason for my decision,” Kato said following an owners’ meeting at which he relayed his resignation to the 12 teams.
“I felt the faster we got off to a fresh start, the better. I still have a month, so I’d like to do whatever I can by then.”
Kato maintains he was never informed of the change, a confession which created ripples in and around baseball and called into question the authority of NPB’s chief executive.
The players union sought his resignation, but Kato had steadfastly refused to step down. While the players got what they wanted in the end, they were confused over the timing of Kato’s announcement to say the least.
“We’re in the thick of the pennant race when it gets most exciting, and you really have to wonder about the timing of it all. Why now?” said ex-union chief Takahiro Arai of the Hanshin Tigers.