...Player return dates:
- Satoshi Komtasu - 3/26, rejoined the team during practice. Set to be the opening day starter against the Softbank Hawks on 4/3.
- Shunsuke Watanabe - 3/26, rejoined the team during practice. Tossed about 90 pitches in the bullpen.
- Norichika Aoki - 3/27, plans to rejoin the team for practice. He is also said to have lost 3kg during the last couple of weeks (WBC).
- Yu Darvish - 3/27, plans to rejoin the team for practice. Set to start exhibition game against Yokohama at Sapporo Dome on 3/29.
- Kyuji Fujikawa - 3/27, plans to rejoin the team for practice.
- Minoru Iwata - 3/27, set to rejoin the team.
- Yasuyuki Kataoka - 3/27, set to play in the exhitibion game against the Yomiuri Giants
- Hiroyuki Nakajima - 3/27, set to play in the exhitibion game against the Yomiuri Giants
- Hideaki Wakui - 3/27, set to start exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants.
- Munenori Kawasaki - 3/28, exhibition game against the Hiroshima Carp
...Kenji Johjima wasn't at the team press conference that took place in LA due to his travel plans. He apologized to teammates and the media for not being present.
...Munenori Kawasaki skipped out on the team press conference in Japan so that he could return to his team (Softbank Hawks) as soon as possible.
...Tatsunori Hara said that he has "graduated from Samurai Japan" and will now focus all of his attention to the upcoming Giants' season.
...The Yokoham Bay Stars are planning to hold a WBC Ceremony for Seiichi Uchikawa and Shuichi Murata sometime during their opening series during the Yomiuri Giants.
...At the suggestion of Hiroshima Carp skipper Marty Brown, the big screen TV at the new Hiroshima Carp was tuned into the WBC Finals game during their intra-squad practice game.
Said Brown, "The players were wondering what was happening with the game and so when Japan won, we paused the game to give everyone a chance to celebrate."
...More TV Rating information: ratings for the Finals game peaked at 45.6% when Korea scored the game tying run in the bottom of the 9th. Further, 81.3% of all TVs were apparently tuned in to watch the game at that moment.
A few minutes later, ratings dropped to 38.8% and then shot back up into to the 40s. Shortly after the game ended, at about 2:39pm, the ratings were at 44.8%.
The news program after the game broadcast also registered a very high 25.9% rating. WBC programming later in the day continued to capture strong ratings and the channel (TBS) ended up with a 19.6% rating for the day.
TV ratings for the 6 games that TBS broadcast averaged 28.4%.
Almost forgot to mention: on top of the 36.4% ratings the Finals game managed to capture, the latest reports also indicate that 71.1% of all TVs were tuned into the game. Throw in people watching the game using their mobile phones and it's possible that close to half of all people living in Japan watched the game at one point or another.