NPB goes viral: owners talk potential June, july starts

The Daily Sports reported Wednesday that a meeting of Nippon Professional Baseball’s owners discussed three potential starting dates for a 2020 season that has been indefinitely postponed by the coronavirus pandemic.

At an extraordinary meeting of the owners committee held online Tuesday, the participants confirmed that Monday’s meeting of team representatives had selected June 19, June 26 and July 3 as potential Opening Days.

The Yakult Swallows communications department released comments from president Tsuyoshi Kinugasa, who is serving as the team owner’s proxy. He said the June starts would permit about 120 games to be played per team, while the July date would limit the scheduled to around 100 while mentioning that each league’s postseason playoffs were likely out of the picture.

“We will take into account the players, the risks involved in travel, everything,” the statement said.

Kinugasa emphasized that decisions would be made based on the practicality once Japan’s current state of emergency has been lifted. He said scheduling as discussed at Monday’s meeting, would be simplified.

“Our team (based in Tokyo) might normally play a series in Hiroshima and then return to Tokyo to play the Yomiuri Giants, then have a day off before traveling to Osaka to play Hanshin.”

“Now if we play in Hiroshima, we must stop to play Hanshin and Chunichi (in Nagoya) before returning to Tokyo.”

He also mentioned the number of games that can be held, with “120 matches” being secured at the start of June 19th, which is the earliest possible date, and around 110 games when it was the latest on July 3rd. However, he also pointed out that the climax series will be tough regardless of which candidate day it is held.

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