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Around the NPB Horn: Nippon Ham Fighters and the flu

by on Aug.19, 2009 @ 5:10 am, under NPB

Hanshin Tigers

...Club President Nobuo Minami returned to Japan on the 18th. He spent the 11th and 12th with the New York Yankees and then visited the Atlanta Braves after that.

Minami will likely set-up a meeting to discuss next year's roster at some point soon.

Nippon Ham Fighters

...By the 18th, 27 players had been tested for the flu, 3 of which tested positive -- 2 of which could be carrying the swing flue virus. Today (8/19), 6 players ran high fevers (today's game has been rained out) and have been told to stay in their hotel rooms. The team doesn't think they have the flu since they tested negative on the 18th, but are still concerned that their colds could spread.

The flu virus can have an incubation period of about a week so things could get much worse for the Fighters.

...The Fighters are taking measures to disinfect the Sapporo Dome. They are focusing on disinfecting areas like the locker room, the player's dining areas, and an area where the media tends to gather together (basement second floor).

But three games have already taken place at the Dome since the first case was announced on the 16th.

...The Fighters will also be leaving antiseptic solution at entrance gates for fans to use and have temporarily banned players from direct contact with fans (like high-fives at the end of games).

Rakuten Eagles

...For the first time in Eagles' history, the team finds itself in third place after the All-Star break.

...Eagles' players have apparently been advised not to talk to Fighters' players that much on the field to avoid any possible chance of contracting the flu.

Yakult Swallows

...The trio of Kenichi Matsuoka, Ryota Igarashi, and Chang-Yong Lim will be named the "Tsuba-me-gumi."

Me-gumi was a group of firefighters during the Edo period. And Tsubame is another way of saying Swallow in Japanese. Throw the 2 words together and you get an overlap on the "me" = Tsuba-me-gumi.

The Swallows received 2,787 suggestions from fans. The winning name was the work of a 19-year-old college student, a Mr. Unno, from Sapporo.


...NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato said that at this point, individual teams will be responsible for deciding what measure they will take in staving off the flu. If things continue to worsen, the NPB may step in and issue league-wide countermeasures.

Iin 1954, the NPB experienced cases of the flu on a league-wide scale, to the point where filling out rosters was difficult. In an effort to ensure that teams would have full rosters, they temporarily abolished the rule that governs adding and removing players from the active roster.

...Shiromitsu Hanai, director of the Pacific League, said that all PL games will be played today (aside from the rain-out) and that the league will continue to work on possible countermeasures. Hanai hopes to make an announcement tomorrow (8/20) regarding what the league is prepared to do.