The Tigers announced that they'll be holding a tour of seat packages at Koshien Stadium between 1/21 - 1/23 (11am - 3pm, free entry). The tour will be designed to give fans an idea of where they'll be sitting in the stadium if / when they purchase season tickets. The Tigers will also be giving away ticket holders to the first 1,000 fans that take the tour (no purchase of tickets are necessary). More detailed information can also be found at the official Tigers' website.
Melbo Clothing Manufacturing's Tailor Fields became the official suit sponsor for the Hanshin Tigers on Monday. The two sides agreed to a 2-year sponsorship deal that will begin on 1/1/2011. As the official suit sponsor, Tailor Fields will provide the team with suits that the players will wear during official team functions.
Ni-gun batting coach Hiroshi Yagi's thoughts on newly acquired Ryota Arai:
He was Chunichi's idle clean-up batter. From our point of view, he was a batter we didn't want to face because of his power. We didn't really like facing him in run-scoring opportunities. ... His strength his his power. But he's still rough around the edges, so he's not 100% ready for playing at a high level. But he's also good enough to where he really has no problems with playing at the Ni-gun level. ... He hasn't been able to make it at the Ichi-gun level because he still needs to overcome a hurdle [or two]... That's probably it. If he can grab onto something and get past that hurdle, I think he'll be an interesting player.
Incidentally, if the Arai brothers manage to hit homers in the same game next season, they'll become the first brother combo to do so since the Kato brothers (Haruo and Masakazu) accomplished the feat in 1950.
Three players are still not signed to contracts for the 2011 season: Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Kenji Jojima, and Yasutomo Kubo. Of the three, Shimoyanagi and Jojima weren't expected to sign before the end of the year.
The Tigers announced that Ni-gun pitching coach Keiichi Yabu's uniform number will be 80. The Tigers have now more or less finalized their coaching staff for the 2011 season.
Yabu also spent about 5 hours of his day on Monday sitting through meetings in a hotel in Hyogo with various members of the Tigers' staff in order to catch him up on the current state of affairs.