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プロ野球選手のメジャー流出について

 今オフに日本プロ野球を代表するエースでありスター選手松坂大輔がメジャーに行く。他にはヤクルトの岩村、愛する阪神では井川も濃厚。スター選手のメジャーへの流出による日本プロ野球界の空洞化を憂うひとたちは多いし今さらの話題でもあるが、正直わたしは複雑な気分である。
 野球界全体から考えると、日本人選手のメジャーへの流出は悪いことではない。実際、それまでメジャーリーグなんて観たこともなかったひとたちが、野茂に始まるスター選手の移籍によって日本で中継される頻度が増え、イチローの大活躍からはほとんど毎日のように中継されるようになった。鳴り物のない応援、広いスタジアム、天然芝グラウンド、球場によって大きく異なる個性、地域密着型のチーム、何より日本野球にはないダイナミックでパワフルな要素が従来野球に興味のなかったひとを惹きつけたのは事実。実際、日本の野球は観ないけど、メジャーリーグは観るというひとも多い。こうしたひとは、日本プロ野球ファンではないものの、熱烈な「野球ファン」に変わりないわけで、メジャーリーグは広い意味で野球人気に貢献しているとわたしは思う。
 しかし一方で、先に述べたようにスター選手がことごとくメジャーに行ってしまうため、日本のプロ野球界がスター不在状態になっているのも事実である。読売戦の中継の視聴率低下がそのままプロ野球人気低下につながるとは思わないし、これは単に読売人気の低下に過ぎないと思うけれども、どのチームをとってみてもいわゆる「スター」が存在しない状態は認めざるを得ず、これでは既存のファンはある程度維持できても新しいファンを獲得することはできない。視聴率云々の問題ではなく、日本プロ野球全体の地盤沈下は確かにあると思う。
 例えばわたしは熱烈な阪神ファンでファン歴数十年という人間だから、阪神に江夏のようなスターがいた時代であろうと、今のように強烈な個性を持つスターはいないけれども強いという時代であろうと応援し続ける。しかし今の阪神を観て野球に興味のない人が、野球でも観てみようかなという気になるかというと疑問だ(星野仙一監督のときは、監督の強烈な個性によって新しいファンをひきつけたと思うが)。こういう風にず抜けたスター不在の状態はどのチームも同じで、これは憂うべき事態と言わざるを得ない。

 スター選手がいるかどうかはそのスポーツの人気に大きく関わってくる。例えば日本のプロゴルフ界は長く人気低迷にあえいでいたが、藍ちゃんの登場によって今や女子ゴルフは空前のブームだ。女子テニス界も伊達公子が出てきてから大いに盛り上がったし、世界的にみればシャラポワが出てきたことで再び勢いを取り戻しつつある。相撲人気の凋落が激しいが、これはひとえに日本人力士に貴乃花や千代の富士などのスターがいなくなって久しいからであり、サッカーがガンと盛り上がったのは引退した中田のおかげであり、選手がこぶりになった今勢いをなくしつつあるように思う。

 そう言う意味では、野茂、イチロー、松井あたりは人気実力共に別格のスター選手だったわけで、彼らが流出したのは余りに痛い。そして現在最後のスーパースターとわたしは思っている松坂さえもが…。
 繰り返すけれども複雑な心境と言ったのは、野球人気という大きなくくりで言えば、彼らスターがメジャーで活躍することはプラスでもあるというところ。例えるなら藍ちゃんの米ゴルフツアー参戦であって、ゴルフ人気全体としてはプラス。でも日本ゴルフ界としては寂しいというのが本音。ただゴルフの場合は、年に何回か日本のメジャーなタイトル戦に藍ちゃんも参戦してくるのでまだ良い。野球の場合は行ってこいだから。。。

 野球人気全体には貢献していると思うけど、日本プロ野球の限って言えばマイナス。スター選手のメジャー流出はまったく複雑な心境にさせられるのである。

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Comments

選手が次々とメジャーへ流出する一方で、監督はメジャーや3Aの監督経験者が向こうからやって来る。この事実が、日本プロ野球が抱える現状を端的に表わしていると思います。
日付が変わって、今日から日本シリーズが開幕しますが、以前ほど興味が持てません。来年以降、日本のプロ野球に対する興味や関心は段々薄れて行くだろうと自分では考えています。

Posted by: 大人童子 | October 21, 2006 12:03 AM

明日からの日本シリーズ。多くのひとがそうなんでしょうね。。。
でもわたしはかなり楽しみにしてます。なぜかというと日本ハムは阪神と何かと縁があり(選手の行き来も多い)、パリーグなのに選手のことをよく知っていることと、新庄最後のシリーズだから(笑)。それから中日はこの数年間阪神にとって最大のライバルで、それだけにそれぞれの選手の個性、ドラゴンズ野球の個性は頭に焼き付いているので、両方に思い入れがあるんです。どちらを応援する、あるいはアンチという気持ちもないのでそういう意味では盛り上がりに欠けますが。

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