The Pacific League has postponed the start of its 2011 season to April 12 due to the aftermath of last week’s massive earthquake in northeastern Japan, while the Central League will go ahead as planned with the March 25 opening.
Nippon Professional Baseball’s two leagues made the announcement Thursday. They were initially scheduled to have a total of six season-opening games on the same day in March.
The CL brushed aside opposition from the players’ union, saying the earthquake had a limited impact on the homes of CL clubs.
The players’ union has said it is inappropriate to start the season only two weeks after the quake when the country is still dealing with its aftermath.
The PL’s postponement came after Sendai, the home of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, was hit hard by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake.
It is the first time since Japanese baseball introduced the two-league system in 1950 that the opening day of the season has been changed for a reason other than inclement weather.