Despite the teams’ chant of full-speed ahead toward an April 24 start to the season despite the coronavirus pandemic, Sports Nippon on Tuesday morning provided the first inkling that anyone in Nippon Professional Baseball is willing to consider anything else as they move forward.
Later in the day, the six Pacific League presidents met online and agreed that with infections on the rise, April 24 was probably out of the question, Sports Nippon reported.
“We started by setting an Opening Day target and teams have been counting backward from then to figure out when to resume practicing. But first of all, you wait until the epidemic settles down, then you resume practice and then you ask when Opening Day should be. That should be the normal order…”Pacific League official cited by Sports Nippon.
NPB has now met three times with Japan’s J-League pro soccer executives to discuss how to proceed with their season and after meeting with a panel of experts, have twice pushed back the start of their season.
The story quoted secretary general Atsushi Ihara, as saying, “We are taking in the panel of experts’ evaluation, analysis and projection of the infection situation, and of course, we have to consider that.”
In addition to April 24, which NPB revealed in March was the last day their simulations suggested they could complete a full 143-game schedule, they have also run simulations for seasons that start on May 8 and May 15.