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NPB said to be thinking about playing an All-Star game at Kleenex Stadium

by on May.17, 2011 @ 4:09 pm, under NPB
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The media learned today, through multiple unnamed sources, that the NPB is mulling over the idea of playing an All-Star game at Kleenex Stadium this year.  As it stands, three All-Star games will be played at Nagoya Dome (7/22), Tokyo Dome (7/23) and QVC Marine Field (7/24).  But in order to help support recovery causes in Sendai, the league may decide to move one of those games to Sendai.

Additional details for the All-Star series will be released on 6/7.

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The NPB after the big quake, Day 56 [May 6, 2011]

by on May.06, 2011 @ 11:28 pm, under NPB
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I'll keep this updated throughout the day.

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Yokohama Bay Stars

14,610 were in attendance for the Bay Stars first night game at Yokohama Stadium this year.  At the start of the game, 55% of their lights were turned; that was bumped up to 75% from the 3rd inning; and in the bottom of the 5th, the umps requested all lighting to be turned on because it was getting increasingly difficult to see the ball.  UPDATE 5/7 @ 1:26pm - The Bay Stars used about 8,000 kWh for their game yesterday, down from their May 2010 average of about 12,000 kWh.

Rakuten Eagles

15,704 fans attended the Eagles' first night game at Kleenex Stadium this year.  Rakuten managed about a 15% reduction in energy usage.

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The NPB after the big quake, Day 52 [May 2, 2011]

by on May.02, 2011 @ 5:59 pm, under NPB
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I'll keep this updated throughout the day.

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Chunichi Dragons

The Dragons announced that they'll invite about 50 elementary school kids (and their families), currently taking refuge in Nagoya, to a game on 5/22 (vs Rakuten at Nagoya Dome).  The kids will also be given presents from the players.

Yakult Swallows

The Swallows will be adding a new item to their menu tomorrow: the Aoki Norichika Mo-dasho Sukiyaku lunch box.  And while a portion of the proceeds usually goes to Aoki, they will instead go towards relief efforts in northern Japan.

Stadium Updates

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is calling on everyone to reduce energy use by at least 15% during the upcoming summer months.  The following are the goals teams in the Kanto / Tohoku regions have for energy reduction.

Yomiuri Giants

Peak use is anywhere from 4,600 - 6,300 kW during the summer months.  The team is hoping to cut back 40-50%.  They'll do this with the use of generators: for night home games beginning on the 11th, the team will have two generators; by June they'll have a total 5 generators.  They also plan on using fewer lights.  So far, through testing, the club is expecting about a drop of 40% in energy use over the course of the season.

Yakult Swallows

Yakult's goal is to use 30% less energy during home games at Jingu Stadium.

Yokohama Bay Stars

There are currently no plans for a reduction in the amount of lights they'll be using out safety concerns, but they will do other things (like adjusting the opening / closing times for games) in order to hit their goal of 25% reduction.

Seibu Lions

The Lions announced their plans for conserving energy at Seibu Dome this season.  They include things like using only 33% of the light banks during day games and 66% during night games; and cutting back on energy use for their big screen (75% of normal use), lights in the bathrooms, and lights inside and outside of the stadium.  The Lions hope to save as much as 25% on electricity with these measures.

The team also ran earthquake drills today with about 150 staff members.

Chiba Lotte Marines

The Marines are hoping to reduce energy use by about 30%.  They'll do this by cutting back 20% on lighting.  They are also thinking about using 2 generators to help off-set some of the use (during the summer months).

Rakuten Eagles

The Eagles are looking at about 15% reduction.

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The NPB after the big quake, Day 49 [April 29, 2011]

by on Apr.29, 2011 @ 6:45 pm, under NPB
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I'll keep this updated throughout the day.

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Yakult Swallows

Yoshinori Sato promised to give the game ball from his victory against the Yomiuri Giants on the 27th to a former Sendai Ikuei classmate / teammate whose body was recently found in Ishinomaki.

Yokohama Bay Stars

The Bay Stars collected signatures and messages (on a big flag) from fans and players and put the flag on display in the right field stands during pre-game ceremonies today.

Chiba Lotte Marines

35 elementary school kids from Asahi, Chiba (an area hit fairly hard by the earthquake) were invited to today's game against the Softbank Hawks at QVC Marine Field by Saburo.  A total 100 kids will be invited to games at QVC Marine Field during Lotte current 3-game series against the Hawks (4/29 - 5/1).

Rakuten Eagles

Nikkan Sports handed out special editions of their paper at Kleenex Stadium and Yurtec Stadium (10,000 copies at each location).

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The Eagles held their home opener at Kleenex Stadium today and a total 20,613 fans showed up for the game.  Soccer and J1 Vegalta Sendai also returned to Sendai Yurtec Stadium today as well (18,456 in attendance).

Tickets were sold out to both games.  Rakuten Eagles' owner Toru Shimada told reporters that despite all that has happened, he was still happy to see the large turnout.

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Yoshihiro Murai (Miyagi prefectural governor), John Roos (US Ambassador in Japan), and Hiroshi Mikitani (team president) took part in opening ceremonies at Kleenex Stadium todayHideki Matsuyama (golfer) threw out the ceremonial first pitchMuneyuki Sato and two school girls from Minamisanriku sang the national anthem.

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There are 70 fewer infield seats this season and construction work on elevators and seating areas will continue throughout the year at Kleenex Stadium.

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The NPB after the big quake, Day 48 [April 28, 2011]

by on Apr.28, 2011 @ 1:45 pm, under NPB
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I'll keep this updated throughout the day.

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Chiba Lotte Marines

The Marines, in cooperation with Funabashi Keiba (horse-racing), invited 110 earthquake and tsunami victims to their game against the Orix Buffaloes (QVC Marine) today.  And outside of the stadium, merchants sold products from Fukushima and Iwate regions.

Rakuten Eagles

The Eagles are planning on using 10% less energy during day games (average use is usually around 1,271 kW) and 15% less energy during night games (average use is about 1,583 kW) this year.  They'll do this by turning off some of the lights in the concourse areas, turning down the brightness on the big screen beyond the OF seats, and turning the lights out at the stadium 15 minutes after the game (instead of 30 minutes).

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Kleenex Stadium repairs continue to move along at rapid pace

by on Apr.26, 2011 @ 12:43 pm, under NPB
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According to Sanspo, construction workers making repairs at Kleneex Stadium are continuing to make solid progress and should have the stadium ready for the home opener on the 29th.

Safety on the ground level is a top priority.  So far, light banks (6) have been reinforced, seats have been replaced, and the walkways in the outfield seating areas have been fixed.

"It might come down to the wire, but we will have the stadium ready [for the homer opener]," said an undisclosed member of the construction crew.

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The NPB after the big quake, Day 45 [April 25, 2011]

by on Apr.25, 2011 @ 4:29 pm, under NPB
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I'll keep this updated throughout the day.

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Softbank Hawks

The Hawks plan on inviting an undisclosed number of earthquake / tsunami victims, currently taking refuge in Fukuoka, to their game on 5/5 (vs Rakuten).  5/5 also happens to be Children's Day.

Chiba Lotte Marines

The Marines announced today that they'll be selling charity tickets for games between 5/13 - 5/15 (vs Rakuten at QVC Marine) at the 2011 Doki Doki Flea Market at Markuhari Messe (5/3 - 5/5).  The charity tickets will cost 2,000 yen (non-reserved infield seat tickets that usually go for 2,300 yen) a piece, of which about 1,700 yen of that will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

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Saburo will be inviting 100 earthquake / tsunami victims from Asahi, Chiba to three games between 4/29 - 5/1 (vs Softbank at QVC Marine).

Nippon Ham Fighters

The Fighters announced that they'll invite around 150 earthquake / tsunami victims, currently taking refuge in Sapporo, to a game on 4/30 at Sapporo Dome (vs Seibu).

Rakuten Eagles

The game balls from the Eagles' victories on 4/12 and 4/15 will be on display at the Miyagi prefectural offices between the 26th and 28th.

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The Eagles installed two seismometers (one on the first floor and one on the 5th floor) at Kleenex Stadium in order to ensure fan safety.  The seismographs are the same kind used by JR along their Shinkansen train lines.

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The Eagles announced today that they'll donate 1M yen to disaster recovery efforts (specifically, to help orphaned children) for every victory they record this year.  Team president Hiroshi Mikitani, Senichi Hoshino, the Eagles' player's association, and the club itself will all chip in.

Other

The Japan Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) announced that members of their association managed to raise about 4.6M yen in donations for recovery efforts in northern Japan.

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Rakuten Eagles to play opening home series at Koshien Stadium

by on Mar.29, 2011 @ 3:09 pm, under NPB
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The Rakuten Eagles officially announced today that their opening home series against the Orix Buffaloes (4/15 - 4/17) will be taking place at Koshien Stadium.  They also announced that their home 3-game series against the Nippon Ham Fighters (4/22 - 4/24) will be played at Hotto Motto Field Kobe.  Tickets for both series will go on sale beginning on 4/2.

The club is still hopeful that they'll be able to start playing home games at Kleenex Stadium on 4/29.

Date Opponent Start Venue
4/15 vs ORI 18:00 Koshien Stadium
4/16 14:00
4/17 14:00
4/22 vs HAM 18:30 Hotto Motto Field Kobe
4/23 18:30
4/24 18:30
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News and Notes on Stadium Problems: March 23, 2011

by on Mar.23, 2011 @ 4:16 pm, under NPB
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Rakuten Eagles

Toru Shimada (owner) had a chance to check out that damage at Kleenex Stadium today.  He's still hopeful for a re-opening on 4/29.

Sanspo also provides a note on the damages.  They are as follows: buckles in 6 light towers; padding materials between support beams near the OF and infield seats on the third base side sections have fallen; 38 support beams have a total 40 cracks; the water tank on the first base side is completely destroyed and the water tank on the third base side is leaking; many of the sprinklers are no longer working; the club offices suffered damages; and the bolts holding up the walkway between the stadium and the club offices are damaged.

UPDATE @ 9:00pm - Shimada visited Yamomotomachi Town Hall (a badly hit section in Miyagi) to drop off some supplies like food, blankets, and kairo (heat packs).  Back in Sendai, he met with Yoshihiro Murai (Miyagi prefectural governor) and gave him an update on Kleenex Stadium's current status.  Said Shimada, "I was watching the scenes on TV, but to see it in person, I don't know if I even have words.  I shivered."

Yakult Swallows

The Swallows are holding out hope that the CL will delay the start of the season until 4/12.  And as of now, the front office is considering three possible options if the league decides to do away with night games during the month of April: 1) finding an alternate park in a different location; sitting down with the university leagues in order to hammer out a new schedule that would allow the Swallows to play day games at Jingu Stadium; moving home games towards the second half of the season.

With regards to a possible alternate park, the Swallows are currently looking at Botchan Stadium in Matsuyama (although this stadium would present some problems as well, like transportation costs).

UPDATE @ 8:55pm - The Swallows are currently leaning towards not playing any night games at Jingu Stadium in the month of April.

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Repairs at Kleenex Stadium to take about 5 weeks

by on Mar.22, 2011 @ 2:59 pm, under NPB
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According to a number of reporters (like Sanspo and Daily Sports) surveyors found damage in 47 different parts of the stadium (40 cracks in 38 different support posts, a destroyed water tank, and buckles in 6 light towers).  And while current estimates suggest the stadium could be fixed in about 5 weeks, that could change depending on whether or not workers find more damage in the coming weeks.

Team owner Toru Shimada also had this to say to about transportation (to and from Sendai) and lodgings (for visiting teams / fans):

[People] could fly to Yamagata and take a bus into Sendai.  At this point, we're not thinking about waiting until Sendai airport re-opens.  As for places to stay, I hear a number of hotels will be re-opening [soon].

But that also doesn't mean the team will push forward with plans of re-opening Kleenex Stadium if the city isn't ready for it yet.

And the news apparently surprised Senichi Hoshino:

That's a lot faster than I thought.  I was thinking at worst, maybe May or June.  A lot can be done in a month; I'm sure the city will look different too.  That'll be something good the players can also work towards.

(Updated with more information on the damaged areas.)

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