Palm Springs Parts Ways With One or More Suzukis

By
Updated: August 7, 2016
Manager Suzuki

Manager Suzuki

Closer Suzuki

Closer Suzuki

By Scott Vosper, Palm Springs Semaphore
December 10, 2023

The long PEBA baseball offseason has begun–and a familiar name will be missing from the roster of the Palm Springs Codgers going forward.

A name with multiple faces.

The team chose not to renew the contract of veteran manager Ryuichi Suzuki, and also watched longtime closer Hisamitsu Suzuki depart in free agency.  Palm Springs General Manager Denny Hills discussed the changes in a hastily-called press conference Friday.

“We just felt like it was time for a change,” said Hills.  “It seemed like he just wasn’t getting through to the guys any more.  I imagine he was worn out from the double duty.”

Double duty?

“Well, yeah,” Hills continued.  “I mean the guy was managing and also pitching….it can’t be easy being a manager/closer.  The fact he still got, what, forty-some saves is amazing.”

A murmur ran through the crowd.  Eventually one brave soul suggested that perhaps Hills was confusing Ryuichi and Hisamitsu Suzuki.

“His a what’s who?” said Hills incredulously.  “Look, buddy.  When I look at the manager’s name I see ‘Suzuki’.  And when I look at the closer’s name I see ‘Suzuki’.  Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?”

Someone suggested that perhaps the team had two different employees with the name Suzuki.

Hills squinted grimly at the crowd for several seconds.  Then his face broke into an indulgent smile, and he responded, in the tone one might use when addressing an idiot child, “Suuuure, that’s it.  We had two Suzukis,” making air quotes with his fingers on the word “two”.

“No, but seriously.  The guy was just way too overworked.  I heard he also built cars and motorcycles!” Hills exclaimed, shaking his head.

Manager Suzuki helmed the Codgers’ ship for four seasons.  During his tenure the club had a record of 341 wins and 308 losses, a winning percentage of .525 overall.  He also was named the PEBA Manager of the Year for the 2022 season.  Yet it wasn’t enough.  Palm Springs failed to reach the postseason while he was in charge, extending their record of playoff futility to 13 straight years.

New Manager Alfred Waters

New Manager Alfred Walters

To replace Suzuki as manager the team hired from within, elevating former pitching coach Alfred Walters to the top spot.

“These are very uncertain times, but I will do my best to lead the Codgers back to the playoffs where they belong,” he said.

“We are very confident that we got the right guy for the job.  Right, Alfie?” said Hills, heartily slapping the new manager on the back as Walters smiled wanly.

Though a baseball ‘lifer’, the 55 year old Maine native has never been a manager.  He has worked in the Codgers organization for eight years, four as the pitching coach at AAA Provo and four as the pitching coach at the major league level.

Meanwhile, Suzuki the player, age 29, is heading into unfamiliar territory as well.  From the day he was drafted in 2015, he has spent his entire career with the Palm Springs organization.  In six seasons at the major league level, he has played in 259 games, garnering a win-loss record of 26-24, accumulating 118 saves with an ERA of 2.50.

When asked about a replacement closer, GM Hills was noncommittal.

“Maybe we’ll get a Kawasaki this time,” he said.