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Miyamoto: Boycott of Climax Series games possible

Kyodo News

Japanese baseball players’ association president Shinya Miyamoto suggested Thursday the possibility of a boycott of the Climax Series playoffs this fall because management has decided to postpone scrapping the “kibo-waku” system until next year.

The “kibo-waku” system, which allows notable amateur players to designate teams they wish to join and vice versa, has been criticized as a source of trouble behind recent scouting scandals, in which two amateur players were paid money under the table by Pacific League club the Seibu Lions.

After the scandals emerged earlier this month, Nippon Professional Baseball said it would examine reforms to the current amateur draft system and agreed Wednesday to abolish the “kibo-waku” next fall, drawing immediate opposition from amateur baseball bodies and the players’ association.

“This is outrageous,” said Miyamoto, who is also a player with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. “I don’t think they (NPB) are concerned about the future of Japanese baseball. If management doesn’t believe that Japanese baseball is headed in the right direction, they shouldn’t agree to this.”

If the Climax Series is not held it could affect the Japan Series since teams in both the Central and Pacific leagues will be vying for a ticket to the October classic in the playoffs.

Starting this season, the teams that finish in first place will be the league champions. Miyamoto hinted that the show can still go on, if the two first-place winners meet in the Japan Series.

“We can still have the Japan Series without it (the Climax Series).”