The NPB will be holding an emergency meeting tomorrow regarding the start of the season. The league will also need to figure out what to do about night games as the government has called on people to conserve energy -- Tokyo Electric Company scheduled scheduled rolling blackouts beginning today and Tohoku Electric Company will begin tomorrow.
The Central and Pacific Leagues will also be holding emergency meetings tomorrow -- the Pacific League isn't sure if they'll be able to make any final decisions since they probably won't have enough information regarding Sendai and Chiba. At this point, it seems entirely possible that the two leagues could start the season on different dates, since most CL teams haven't suffered much of any damages to their stadiums.
And some of the comments that have made the headlines:
Yu Darvish has questioned whether they should even be thinking about playing baseball at a time like this and thought that it might be best to delay the start of the season.
"There are still people out there that are missing, I'd like to see as many people saved as possible. ... There are a lot of people in need right now, I'm not sure if this is the time to be playing baseball. I'm a baseball player, but I'm also a person. This is a very difficult time for me."
He also said - "This isn't the time to be throwing a ball and swinging a bat. ... We're no longer at the point where we can lift everyone's spirits by playing some baseball. But I'll go along with whatever the people upstairs decide."
Senichi Hoshino is on the same page as Darvish and feels the start of the season should be delayed.
"The decisions become difficult if we're going to think about trying to start the season on time. We need to keep things simple here."
Chiba Lotte Marines' operating director Akira Ishikawa and Softbank manager Koji Akiyama also feel that it would be best to delay the start of the season (Ishikawa figures a 2-3 week delay will be necessary; Akiyama is worried about the players' mental and emotional states).
On the other hand, the Giants would like the NPB to push forward with the start of the regular season on the 25th, as scheduled.
Club rep Hidetoshi Kiyotake - "We need to move forward if we are to rebuild. Even if fans don't come out to the games, we need to show that Pro Yakyu is moving forward."
Since the Giants play indoors, they'll also need to figure out how they're going to handle the energy situation.
Hiroshima, Chunichi, and Hanshin also see no need to delay the start of the season, but the Bay Stars aren't feeling so strongly -- they're not only worried about the current energy situation, but also of the safety of their fans.
Hiroshima GM Kiyoaki Suzuki - "There will be blackouts, so there will be places that won't be able to play games. Do we give up and wait, or do we try to use this as a way to provide support and play where we can... I think we should go forward with the season."
Chunichi president Junnosuke Nishikawa - "I want to hear what the other clubs have to say [today], but I think... Sendai is in a tough situation. I think the entire league needs to help support Rakuten. But last season, the CL and PL started at different times, so I don't see the need to have both leagues start on the same day."
Hanshin GM Shoji Numasawa - "It doesn't make sense to go as far as possible and then quit. ... And we can't afford to put econimic activity on hold. And we will do what we can to help [other teams] and we'd also consider charity games."
Yokohama managing director Teiji Sato - "We need to seriously consider the [aftershock forecasts] made by the Meteorological Agency. I plan on explaining this side of things carefully during the meeting. And I hope the other 5 clubs will understand our situation."
And Masahiko Morino had a slightly different comment.
"I'd personally like to see the NPB step up and take leadership here and decide on a way to start the season so that all teams are on equal footing. ... Is it right that we can't play exhibition games, but we can play practice games? There are also teams that can't even use their home stadium, that isn't fair [to them]."
What do all of you think?
Some other links of interest:
(Updated 3/15 @ 9:12pm with some new quotes.)