future vice captain

Captain’s Curse

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Prompt: also maybe maybe you could consider writing chubby yahaba with his flustered and blushing boyfriend kyoutani pls ?

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Iwaizumi had called it the captain’s curse.

Kyoutani hadn’t know what he meant by it at the time; obviously it had something to do with their stupid—now former—captain that made Iwaizumi pay special attention to him, doing little things like asking if he’d gotten enough sleep or wrapping his spilt fingers after an intense practice, bringing him hordes of his favorite snacks for him to munch on while they sat in the locker room together, working out budgets and different formations for the team to try at practice.

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Captains

In my Daiya post about Act II chapter 26, I commented how captain-like Kanemaru and Miyuki were. It makes me think of the possible future captain (and vice captains) once the third years retire. There’s still Kantou tournament, then Summer qualifiers and Summer Koshien, so it’s still far away to make any predictions. I think all of us want Seidou to win all of them (ehem, Sawamura takes them by storm with Miyuki). But it’s still fun to guess who might it be. I missed speculating for Miyuki since I came late to the fandom.

First, before we start discussing who are the candidates and who might be best for the position. Let’s take a look at the current and former captains of Seidou, shall we?

Exhibit A: Yuuki Tetsuya. 

Yuuki doesn’t have much expression, except when he is particularly fired up, almost similar to Furuya if you think about it. He rarely speaks, quiet and reserved. He is not good in shougi, so he doesn’t have much strategic skills, but persistent despite his constant defeat. This is the trait that makes him grow the most from the badly-skilled first year to best batter and first baseman. He often responds to conversation not connected to the topic (at least to us, it might mean something to him), possibly also because he often misses subtler cues. But at the same time, Yuuki is a reassuring and reliable presence on the the field, especially when he’s stepping out to bat fourth. He never fails to answer his teammates’ trust. He is a charismatic.  By the time we know him, he is the strong and ideal leader.

Exhibit B: Miyuki Kazuya. 

Meanwhile, Miyuki has more expression and speaks more than Yuuki, but rarely truly honest, or not followed by some sort of smart remark and shit-eating grin. He is eloquent when it comes to baseball-related topics, but not so much outside it. Obviously a brilliant strategist and skilled, if not the best baseball player of the team. On the field, he is a reliable presence, no one questions his leads or his ability.  So much that they unconsciously take him for granted as seen through Shirasu’s thoughts of him. Regardless, off the field, teammates rarely spend time willingly with him aside some exceptions, though the number grows as he becomes captain. Last we see him, he is still awkward with his captaincy, Sawamura and Kuramochi not helping (though I cannot help but snicker how they casually bully their captain). In comparison to Yuuki, he has charisma only on the field.  Otherwise he has his shining moments when he knows what he wants and what to say (his speeches for being hungry for victory, to win the Fall tournament to keep the coach from leaving, etc.). Still has room to grow to be as good as Yuuki in his own way, since he’s sharper when it comes to people. 

So, seeing the two Seidou captains, social skills are not the main consideration since neither are particularly expressive or communicative. However, both of them are reliable presence on the field and strong players in their own right. This is consistent with what Coach Kataoka said to Yuuki to lead the team by his performance. Captains are expected to lead with his actions, not his words. They are expected to inspire the team on the field.

Now, it’s important to see how the position of a captain is perceived, mainly by the coach who has the final say in the appointment, in this case, Coach Kataoka. He has clearly stated his expectation of his captain to Yuuki, which most likely doesn’t change as he chooses Miyuki as the next captain. However, Coach Kataoka seems to bundle the role of captain with clean up, because he still gives the position to Miyuki despite being aware the additional duty and responsibility it will give Miyuki who is already main catcher to the team. Thus, I surmise that if the Ace is the leader that inspires the team during defense, Cleanup is the leader that inspires the team during offense. That’s why it also has to be the captain, at least for Coach Kataoka. Coach Kunitomo from Inashiro emphasizes captain as someone who can unite the team, so it’s not necessarily by skill or performance, but is possible by sheer power of character too, because as the Ace, Narumiya should fit the bill if there’s no one else instead of choosing Fukui. Harada and Yeung are the only player I can recall having multiple roles (captain catcher cleanup and cleanup ace respectively), so mostly the roles of captain and cleanup and ace are distributed to different players, and interestingly, no Aces as captains either, except for Sawamura during middle school.

So when we consider the candidates for the next captain, we are likely to need to consider the next cleanup batter. Now, let’s look at the possible candidates for the next captain.   

Right now, the most likely candidates are all the second-year first-string, almost all of them regulars (Kanemaru and Sawamura are not always playing, to my recollection). This makes the five second-years: Sawamura, Kominato, Furuya, Kanemaru and Toujou. However, if the captain is expected to be someone to lead through his performance, Kanemaru is actually the least likely candidate. Both Sawamura and Furuya has shown reliable performance as pitchers and Kominato (let’s change to Haruichi shall we?) and Toujou as batters. But if we consider captains as cleanups, then Sawamura as he is, is out of the running, leaving Haruichi, Toujou and Furuya.

As ace (or former ace), Furuya and Toujou are ahead Haruichi in terms of leadership, though Haruichi beat them both when it comes to batting statistics. Personality-wise Toujou seems to be more people person than the other two. If Furuya is still the ace for the Fall while ace and cleanup have to be separate, Furuya might also be out of running for captain position. So, right now if we list the likeliest candidates to be captain it will look like this:

  1. Haruichi. He is growing a presence as the third batter, in time he would be a presence as feared by the battery as Yuuki and Miyuki as cleanups. His performance is also consistent whether as a batter or second baseman, especially being part of Iron Wall.
  2. Toujou. He is rising to the top of the batting lineup, his batting become more reliable as he is mentioned one of the two that contributed most hits in Jingu tournament. He has been main and regular center fielder since joining the first string, but less presence on the field during defense.
  3. Furuya. He is a good batter when he makes contact, but not as consistent as the other two. However, he has been the ace since Tanba retired and performed well in Spring Koshien. He still need to be better batter to be cleanup, at least Miyuki is a consistent clutch hitter before becoming captain. Might be out of running if ace =/= captain cleanup.
  4. Sawamura. He is already a presence on the field with his strong will, the undeniable moodmaker of the team, often pulling out the team from a pinch, and looks like establishing more of a presence with his growing repertoire and better control. Sucks at batting though, but masterful in bunting. Still ways to go to be captain cleanup, but have experience as captain ace. Dark horse.
  5. Kanemaru. He looks to be good in clutch situation, but he is not always a starter that he has the least presence on the field in comparison to others. He is good in taking care of others though, and have the best presence off the field of the five. He is the most leader-like, but neither the former and current captain are before they are appointed. Right now, he is more a vice-captain material.

Sawamura is considered as a dark horse, because no one, not a single person in the team, is as inspiring as him. All the second and third years has seen him grow from from a pitcher who has only moving fastball in his repertoire (with bad control too) to a reliable pitcher they can count on in matches as well as the ace, and most of all they see him struggle with the yips. We all can see how happy the team, not only first string members, when they see Sawamura pitch to the inside. Solely for that reason, he might be considered as captain or ace, since their main duty and responsibility is to inspire. He is like Yuuki who with his constant and relentless practice set up an example for and pull up his peers. I have also the impression he is the kind of person who grow into his role. I don’t think he’s quite prepared to be captain and ace in his middle school team, but he becomes one for his friends, carrying them through practice and real matches. How much is it the Sawamura we know is the Sawamura he made himself to be the captain and ace the team needed?

It cannot be easy when you are the one most passionate about baseball and the best player in the team. How much he fight to get a team started, how often he must encourage his friends, how much he has to show them that this sport is worth it, to the point that his friends worship the ground he walk on (or close to that, they call him their hero). I want to see these qualities more. I’ve got the feeling that Sawamura discarded that part of himself in Seidou since he considered himself starting over and needing less to think of others. He allows himself to be more selfish and childish.

This post might get revised with manga development. The frontrunner might change :D

6

Hi, I would like to order a special combo of suga and ennoshita please?

Watch on poetry-in-motion-tra-la-la-la.tumblr.com

Tonight’s man of the match gets the reception he deserves at the end. Remember, this is a player the previous manager thought wasn’t any good…