In a surprise move Wednesday, Nippon Professional Baseball decided to act for the good of the game and rescue Japan’s most popular pro sport from the clutches of Major League Baseball.
“For years Japanese baseball has avoided trying to be the adult in the room. But by their disregard for the rights of amateurs and minor leaguers, MLB and its union have made it clear it’s time for us to put on our big-boy pants.”NPB commissioner Atsushi Saito
Upon learning MLB and its players’ union planned to make further inroads into their already barbaric treatment of amateur prospects and minor leaguers on account of the coronavirus pandemic, NPB announced a series of measures to save the reputation of Japan’s beloved game from MLB.
In its April 1 declaration, NPB announced it would:
- Add four teams, two in each league, in Okayama, Nagoya, Shizuoka, and Niigata.
- Allow all 16 teams, starting in June to sign up to two international amateurs, who will not be counted against each club’s 70-man roster.
- Abolish the current limit of four imported players on each team’s active roster.
Commissioner Atsushi Saito said, “MLB has left us with no choice. The way it suppresses the rights of amateurs to fair market value gives the sport a bad name and causes the millions of Japanese who love baseball to weep in shame.”
“We hope to take the best and brightest American amateurs and treat them with dignity and quality working conditions they will not find in their homeland. We won’t force them to learn how to bunt or to practice as much as we do because frankly, we don’t think they could.”