The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Pacific League will meet the Yomiuri Giants of the Central League at Miyagi Stadium next spring on the opening day of interleague play, which will be introduced from next season.

According to the 216-game interleague schedule released by the two leagues Monday, the Orix Buffaloes will host the Chunichi Dragons at Yahoo BB Stadium in Kobe as all 12 teams will see action on May 6 and continue to play against teams from the other league until June 16.

Also, the Yakult Swallows will play the Daiei Hawks at Jingu Stadium in their first interleague game, the Yokohama BayStars face the Lotte Marines at Yokohama Stadium, the Hiroshima Carp compete against the Seibu Lions at Hiroshima Stadium, and the Nippon Ham Fighters meet the Hanshin Tigers at Sapporo Dome.

Each team will play the same opponent six times, three at home and three away, for a total of 36 interleague games per team. Including interleague games, there will be a total of 146 regular-season games in the CL and 136 games in the PL without the playoffs.

Little Eagles roost

The minor-league affiliate of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who call Miyagi Stadium in Sendai their home field, will be based in Yamagata Prefecture, the Eastern League said Monday.

Rakuten initially planned to base its minor-league team in Sendai but failed talks to use the 770-seat stadium which belongs to corporate team JT and neighboring parks forced it to reapply with the 25,000-seat Yamagata Prefectural Stadium in Nakayama as its home.

The minor-league team will hold its practices in Tendo, Yamagata Prefecture.

After Rakuten was admitted as a new member of the Pacific League last month, the Internet shopping mall operator was asked to locate its farm team near the Kanto region to help keep the current minor-league setup of six teams each in the Eastern and Western leagues.

Amateur boss to retire

Eiichiro Yamamoto, who is set to step down as the head of the Japan Amateur Baseball Association after serving out his current term, said Monday he will also retire from all other posts because of old age.

Yamamoto, 85, said he will give up all his executive titles in the sport including those as vice president of the International Baseball Federation and chairman of the Asian Baseball Federation as soon as his contracts expire.

Yamamoto revealed that he was asked to continue his international duties by 2008 Olympic host China and said, “I will be glad to help in any way I can as a special adviser.”

Tryouts draw a crowd

TAKAMATSU, Kagawa Pref. (Kyodo) The first tryout for the new baseball league planning to open its inaugural season in Shikoku Island next spring attracted 172 players Sunday.

Players between the ages of 17 and 24 braved gusty conditions to gather at Olive Stadium in Takamatsu, where they demonstrated their skills in batting, fielding, throwing and running.

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