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Some more headlines on the start of the season: March 18, 2011

by on Mar.18, 2011 @ 7:06 am, under NPB

I'll keep this updated throughout the day.

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The PL will essentially move the first 44 games from the schedule and shift them to days where games aren't scheduled and into the month of October.  The PL will also work on putting together special rules that deal with things like what to do when games need to be called early due to blackouts or how to handle extra inning games.

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The Rakuten Eagles actually wanted a one month delay, but understood it wasn't a realistic request, especially if the PL is to play a full 144-game schedule and hold a Climax Series.

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Sanspo notes the energy usage of Jingu Stadium and Tokyo Dome:

Jingu Stadium - about 930 kW in one hour, or more than 3,000 kW over the course of one game.  Roughly the same amount of energy used by 300 households.

Tokyo Dome - about 15,000 kW an hour when there's nothing scheduled and  50,000 - 60,000 kW an hour during games.  Roughly the same amount of energy used by 5,000 households.

Each of the three CL stadiums in the Kanto region actually fall outside of the scheduled blackout areas, but it remains to be seen how people living in Tokyo will react when they need to deal with blackouts, not only at home, but also with regards to the trains.

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NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato apparently required all 12 NPB clubs to agree to the following three things:

  1. Fan and player safety should be the number 1 priority
  2. All games should be charity games
  3. All teams will abide by whatever the government or regulatory authorities say

UPDATE 3/18 @ 3:17pm

As expected, the government is beginning to move on the CL's decision to start the season on time.

Banri Kaieda (Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) is asking the Yomiuri Giants not to use Tokyo Dome because it'll cause a strain on the power grid.

Yoshiaki Takaki (Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) said that it was probably going to be very difficult to get the people of Japan to understand the need to play night games at a time like this and that he expected the CL to make the necessary adjustments.

Renho Murata (Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety / Minister of State for Government Revitalization / Minister for Electricity Conservation Promotion) is asking that teams work on conserving as much energy as possible.

Fumiko Hayashi (Yokohama mayor) supports the Bay Stars and the CL's decision to start the league on time.

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Nikkan Sports notes that the Yakult Swallows, Yokohama Bay Stars, and Chunichi Dragons may have been pushing for a delay in the CL at first, but were later "forced" into changing their votes.

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Saburo told reporters today that all players on the Chiba Lotte Marines were in agreement that the season should be delayed.  He also said that the players were prepared to cooperate with JPBPA chairman Takahiro Arai.

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Shoji Numasawa (Hanshin GM) got the players together today before practice at Kyocera Dome to inform and provide explanations of the league's decision to start the season on time.  From the sounds of it, the players just listened and didn't ask any questions.

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For those wondering what players would be doing if they delayed the season, Takahiro Arai has mentioned a number of times that the players have ideas for what to do, including playing charity games (where results wouldn't matter) and going out to collect donations from fans.

The JPBPA is also in the process of collecting feedback from players on what they're now thinking after the leagues announced their decisions yesterday.  Based on that feedback, the JPBPA will decide on what they'll do next.

UPDATE 3/18 @ 4:36pm

According to Daily Sports, the Swallows have been getting a ton of phone calls from fans with more than 90% of fans criticizing the leagues decision to start the season on time.

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Kensuke Tanaka informed Takahiro Arai that all players on the Nippon Ham Fighters agreed that the season should be delayed.  It seems some of the Ni-gun players are also concerned about safety and are suggestion a change of venue (from Kamagaya to Miyazaki).

UPDATE 3/18 @ 8:36pm

Shintaro Ishihara (Tokyo governor) told reporters he felt that CL teams in the Kato region should play games in the afternoon since fans probably won't be able to get into games if they're done at night with the stadiums zapping power in the middle of a power shortage.

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Nikkan Sports asked 27 men and women in Sendai what they thought regarding the the CL's decision to start the league on time and the PL's decision to delay until 4/12.

21 agreed with the PL's decision

18 disagreed with the CL's decision

4 agreed with the CL decision

It's an extremely small sample, but I thought it might be of some interest.

UPDATE 3/18 @ 10:10pm

Takahiro Arai and the JPBPA decided today, after getting feedback from players on all 12 teams, that they will re-submit their request to delay the start of the season with the NPB offices (perhaps as early as today).  When asked if a player strike was possible, Arai said it was something the players wanted to avoid, but added that if they were ignored again, they would discuss every option available.

Arai said he was also interested in seeing how the NPB decided to handle night games and the power situation.

Daily Sports has posted a portion of the statement prepared by the JPBPA:

At a time where everyone is talking about conserving energy, we find it difficult to understand how we can play night games when some stadiums will require enough energy to power 5,000 homes.

If the NPB is going to push starting the season on time, then at the very least, we want them to reconsider night games.  If you think of the current the energy situation and safety, then days games must be considered.

If our request is ignored, the majority of players say that they will not want to cooperate with starting the season.  So in that sense, if all our requests are ignored, the players will need to regroup to decide on what to do.

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Central League teams other than the Swallows have been receiving e-mails and phone calls from fans:

The Dragons received about 30 e-mails from fans and all but 2 questioned the CL's decisions to start the season on time.  And an unnamed Chunichi rep told reporters that every call the club received today was against starting the season on time.

Yokohama has been receiving calls and getting e-mails regarding the start of the season for the last few days, many asking whether it was really right to starting playing baseball now.  There were some that looked forward to watching baseball again.

The Giants admitted they received a large volume of calls but brushed things off by saying that there were always going to be differences of opinion.

UPDATE 3/19 @ 12:29am

Senichi Hoshino wasn't too happy that it took the government so long to start talking about opening day.

"They should have said something before our meetings.  Everything is after the fact.  Somethings wrong when the government and government officials start maing comments after the fact."