NAGO, OKINAWA PREF. – After spending the first half of their spring training in Arizona this year, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters have learned that starting in 2020, the team will have a new training base.
Susumu Inamine, mayor of Nago, where the Fighters have held spring training since 1979, revealed Thursday that the city’s current stadium will be torn down in 2017 and rebuilt in time for spring training in 2020. In recent years, the Fighters have asked the city to do something about the deteriorating facility.
“We want to welcome them with a splendid ballpark,” Inamine said.
The new park will have a larger outfield area than the cozy existing stadium, with foul poles 100 meters from home plate and dead center 120 meters, while capacity will apparently increase from 4,000 to between 6,000 and 8,000.
“I was happy to hear such reassuring words,” said Fighters president Kenso Takeda, whose club arrived in Okinawa on Wednesday after two weeks at the San Diego Padres spring training omplex in Peoria, Arizona.