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Ex-MLB legend Ichiro taking steps to become Japanese amateur baseball coach

Ichiro Suzuki is seen at a Nippon Professional Baseball Organization seminar in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, on Dec. 13, 2019. (Mainichi/Koichiro Tezuka)

TOKYO -- Former Major League Baseball superstar Ichiro Suzuki is apparently preparing to teach baseball to youths in Japan, as he was found attending a lecture here for aspiring trainers for students on Dec. 13.

Dressed in a suit, the 46-year-old baseball legend was spotted at the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization seminar in which courses on various topics, including the relationship between student baseball and professional baseball, rules regarding the acquisition of new players and the roles of trainers, are provided. Former professional players must obtain a license to teach students; high school baseball coaches, among other experts, take the role of lecturers.

After announcing his retirement from pro baseball, Ichiro told a news conference in Tokyo in March this year that he "would not be able to be a manager (for a pro-ball team)" because he is "not well respected." He told the same conference, however, "I'm not sure if it's elementary school, junior high, high school or university, but I do have some interest," suggesting he was drawn to coaching amateur baseball.

According to a source close to the Japanese baseball world, Ichiro suggested he wanted to make use of his pro baseball experience in amateur baseball, which led to his joining the seminar.

Ichiro played in the famed Koshien Stadium in western Japan when he participated in summer and spring national tournaments in his second and third year of high school, respectively.

(Japanese original by Yuka Nakamura, Sports News Department)

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