Nippon Professional Baseball’s 12 managers met online Wednesday, when NPB reiterated its plan to have the 143-game schedule it’s been operating under since 2015, but will keep the 10-inning limit imposed last season as a response to the coronavirus.
Active rosters will remain at 31 instead of 29 with five imports allowed on the active roster and four eligible to play.
As reported earlier, the Central League will not adopt the designated hitter rule for its league games and both leagues will pass on adopting Major League Baseball’s three-batter minimum.
NPB also announced that the eight teams holding spring training camps in Okinawa have agreed to the prefecture’s request that their camps be closed to the public. Teams training in Miyazaki prefecture have already said their training there will be held behind closed doors.
BayStars imports not expected on time
New DeNA BayStars manager Daisuke Miura may need better luck from the umpires this year after telling reporters Wednesday that the club’s imported players are not expected to arrive in Japan in time for camp, Sponichi Annex reported.
The Japanese government has ostensibly suspended its exemption for non-resident athletes, but some players have arrived since that exemption — supposed to run at least until Feb. 7 — went into force.
Hanshin unveils Tigers Women
The Hanshin Tigers Women were unveiled at a Wednesday press conference when the players’ numbers were announced, and 28-year-old Iori Miura was introduced as the team’s first captain, Daily Sports reported.
The women’s uniforms appear identical to the Tigers’ regular kit, something that Miura, a veteran of Japan’s professional women’s league, commented on.
“I am happy to be able to play games in this uniform, and I feel some pressure since it’s one everyone knows,” Miura said.
Another former pro, Minami Takatsuka, said it would be good for women’s baseball that they are wearing the same uniform as Hanshin’s storied men’s club.
“It’s a good way to promote not only women’s baseball but the game itself. I hope to be a role model,” said Takatsuka.
Perhaps the team can start by having a sitdown with the Daily Sports— the Tigers’ main paper since one of their pieces described Takatsuka as “a too beautiful outfielder.”
The Seibu Lions have also formed a women’s team, not named the Cougars, as the number of women’s hard-ball clubs continues to increase around the country. Hopefully, the other 10 NPB clubs can get with the program, although I’m sure they could find better names.
Cows might be bad for Orix’s team, but “Buffalo Girls” — as in the song James Stewart sings in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” might work. Carp Joshi might be good, too, although that would leave a nation full of the team’s female “Carp joshi” followers who are not on the team. I also wonder how many women would want to be known as Dragon Ladies.