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NPB draws positives from WBC talks

Kyodo

Kunio Shimoda, Nippon Professional Baseball’s secretary general, on Thursday expressed some optimism that Monday’s talks with World Baseball Classic organizers had produced something of value.

“We did get a little bit,” said Shimoda, who was among those who went to New York to gain concessions needed to get Japan’s reluctant players to sign up for the 2013 WBC.

Shimoda, who did not go into specifics, admitted it would be difficult to change the union’s mind, but that the little bit gained in New York might be a factor in securing the players’ understanding of NPB’s policy.

NPB agreed last year to join the 2013 competition, won by Japan both times it has been held in 2006 and 2009. The players union, however, voted on July 20 not to participate unless its demands that NPB is given the rights to the sponsorship and licensing revenues its participation generates are met. Currently, sponsorship and licensing revenues are pooled and divided among participating nations by the tournament’s organizing body, WBC Inc.

Representatives of NPB’s 12 teams will meet on Monday to discuss their options and meet players’ representatives afterward.