Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles manager Senichi Hoshino suggested on Monday that his team’s season-opening game against the Chiba Lotte Marines in the quake-ravaged city of Sendai scheduled for March 25 be postponed until a later date.
“It is becoming harder to reach a conclusion on the matter because we are trying to go ahead (with the game). It would be more positive to forget about it and work on arranging a new schedule,” Hoshino said.
Nippon Professional Baseball has decided to hold an executive committee meeting Tuesday to discuss whether or not to go ahead with Rakuten’s season opener and how to deal with the effects of the quake.
Hoshino said that although Kleenex Stadium has been damaged, the main consideration is the wide area of destruction that has paralyzed the Tohoku region.
“Practically, we are not sure that we could hold the game. And then there is the question of whether to have it even if it is physically possible,” said Rakuten team representative Jun Yoneda.
Lotte team official Akira Ishikawa pointed out that just traveling to Sendai under the current circumstances is problematic.
“There is no doubt that there will be a drop in the number of games played and there is nothing wrong with holding off on the season opener for two or even three weeks,” Ishikawa said.
Softbank Hawks manager Koji Akiyama also weighed in, saying that delaying the season openers for the 12 teams made the most sense.
“Delaying the season openers can’t be avoided. The players have to not only focus on maintaining their condition, but they also are going through a lot of mental trauma. We have to consider this and follow the decision, whatever that may be,” Akiyama said.
Giants look forward
The Yomiuri Giants are looking to go ahead with season openers on March 25, despite the largest-ever recorded earthquake to hit Japan.
As the cancellations of sporting events continue to be announced across the nation following the massive 9.0 magnitude quake and ensuing tsunami last Friday, the Tokyo-based club said it hopes to give people a semblance of normalcy through baseball.
“There are many ways of thinking about this, but this is a time to play baseball and give people confidence,” said Yomiuri team representative Hidetoshi Kiyotake after the Giants played the Hanshin Tigers in a scheduled exhibition game in Gifu on Monday.
The Giants plan to hold three more exhibition games before playing the Yokohama BayStars in the season opener.