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NPB pushes back Japan Series

by Jim Allen (Mar 27, 2011)

Nippon Professional Baseball's owners decided Saturday that the start dates for this year's Climax Series and Japan Series would be pushed back roughly two weeks.

"The owners ratified the recent decisions of the Central and Pacific leagues' boards of directors to start both leagues' seasons on April 12, while staging a full Climax Series and Japan Series," said Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles owner Toru Shimada, who chaired an extraordinary meeting held in Tokyo.

"We set an approximate date of Oct. 29 for the start of the Climax Series and have reset the Japan Series opener to Nov. 12, roughly two weeks later than originally planned," Shimada said.

Faced with a shortage of electricity and a delayed start to the season in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that struck the Tohoku region, the owners also formally agreed that no extra innings will begin 3-1/2 hours after the start of a game.

Both leagues will refrain from playing night games in Tohoku and Kanto through April. Shimada said that the six teams not affected by power shortages would make their stadiums available to the other six teams.

All 12 teams will play charity games on April 2 and 3, the owners also announced.

The venues and details of the games were to be worked out by NPB's executive committee, which began its deliberations later in the afternoon.

"In this situation, the CL, PL and players union have all come together as one and we want to do our best for the victims of the disaster and the affected areas," Shimada said. "Toward that goal, we will develop a symbol, a logo, that we will we present as soon as we can."

Shimada said more will be done, but that it would require consultation with the teams and the players.

"Speaking of our team, there are players who still haven't been able to see their families. It is crucial that they do so, thus the players union has to be involved," Shimada said. "It is a question of priorities."

Commissioner Ryozo Kato, who praised the current unity between both leagues and the union, accepted criticism he had been responsible for the haphazard progress NPB took to get to this point.

"It has come to pass that all three main parties in our business are working together and that is extremely significant," Kato said. "With this kind of cooperation, who knows how much we can accomplish.

"I accept 100 percent of the criticism for the recent difficulties.

"It is understandable that we had some differences up to now. After all, the 12 teams have faced the same difficulties. But now we are united and moving forward on all fronts."


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