NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato began his annual spring camp road trip with a stop at Miyazaki Ikime-no Mori Stadium on Friday (Softbank Hawks).
A number of sources with connections to the Central League informed the media on Friday that the league is thinking about introducing starting pitcher announcements in a move to improve attendance figures this season. The league is currently in the process of rounding opinions from each of the team and a number of teams are already prepared to approve the change. The issue will be discussed during a board of directors meeting on March 1.
"I cannot deny that there is a chance this new rule will be adopted this season. We will need to decide during our next board meeting on March 1. We will listen to opinions and if a lot are against it, it may not pass." said the league's chairman, Chunichi Dragons' team rep Ryohei Sato.
The Pacific League began making starting pitcher announcements for opening day games in 1983 and fully adopted the rule for every game during the season in 1994 (other than during Inter-league play). The Central League Hiroshima Carp and Yomiuri Giants did agree to starting pitcher announcements in 1994, but other than those two teams, it has never been used in the CL.