The NPB held an executive committee meeting on Monday and confirmed that they will be taking steps towards selecting one company to manufacture baseballs for the league. As part of this move, each of the 12 NPB teams will now individually go over proposals from the current manufacturers (Mizuno, Zett, ASICS, and Kubota).
Of the four manufactures, three have stated that they are prepared to supply enough baseball for the entire league while one manufacturer stated they would need another year. There are also some teams that are in the middle of multi-year deals with baseball manufacturers and have said that next year would be impossible.
A final decision will likely be made in time for the next executive committee meeting in June.
Also discussed during the meeting:
The MLB and the Australian Baseball Federation have started up a new league called the Australian Baseball League (ABL). There will be a total 9 teams in the league and games for the league will take place between November and February (40 regular season games and 9 post-season games). Minor league players from the MLB are expected to participate. And it seems the ABL is interested in drawing some players from the NPB.
Officials from the ABL will be visiting Japan on the 21st to provide more information about the league.
The dates for the Fresh All-Star Game and NPB All Stars game were confirmed to take place between 7/21 and 7/24.
Additional proposals for how to get 9-inning games played in under 3 hours.
Dialogue regarding the possibilities of having an MLB / NPB "All-Star" game in November.
The increase of the Phoenix League season from 14 games to 18 games.
The unbalanced seasons / schedules for the Eastern League (7 teams) and Western League (5 teams) and what might be done to help even things out for both sides.