The Central and Pacific leagues of pro baseball have shown contrasting approaches to their game schedule for this year in the wake of the March 11 quake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan. On March 15, the Pacific League decided to postpone the start of its season to April 12.

The Central League first announced that it will start its season on March 25. After the education ministry requested it to avoid games, especially at night, in the area where power is supplied by Tokyo Electric Power Co., whose Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is in a crisis, the league postponed the start of the season to March 29. It decided not to hold extended games throughout the season, but it decided to hold night games on and after April 5. The education ministry then requested the league to rethink its night games plan.

On Thursday, however, the Central League decided to start the season on April 12 and not to hold night games in April. One wonders if it occurred, after all, to league officials that their earlier decision to start its season in late March would not have received public support, as people in the disaster-hit regions are in deep sorrow, suffering over the loss of family members and homes.

It appears that officials of the Central League have failed to understand the gravity of the fact that more than 20,000 people are dead or missing because of the quake and tsunami, and that elderly evacuees are dying in temporary shelters because of a lack of medical care.

In contrast, in the Pacific League, there was a strong voice among players and managers that the situation in Japan is not yet suitable to play and enjoy the game of baseball.

Three Central League teams based in the Tokyo metropolitan had wanted to hold night games in April. It is clear that this ran counter to the idea behind Tepco’s rolling power outages. It appears that Central League officials did not understand the severity of the power shortage. A night game at the Tokyo Dome consumes 50,000 to 60,000 kW of electricity, equivalent to the amount used by 4,000 households.

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