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The Pacific League Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will continue their tradition of holding Arizona Diamondbacks Day at one of their home-away-from-home games at Tokyo Dome.

This season, the Fighters will honor the National League D-Backs, their working partners, on Sunday, April 17, during a game with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. “Play Ball!” will be called at 1 p.m.

As usual, the promotion promises to be a fun, international day with 3,000 members of the foreign community in Japan invited to the game as guests of the Fighters.

There will be pre-game ceremonies acknowledging the foreign players and coaches of both teams and manager Trey Hillman of the Fighters, and the national anthems of the U.S. and Japan will be performed.

I will again be coordinating the event and distributing the free tickets to the readers of this column so, if you would like to join us on Diamondbacks Day, please read and adhere to the following instructions.

Send a stamped (80 yen), self-addressed envelope directly to me: Wayne Graczyk, 1-12-18 Kichijoji Higashi-cho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo-to 180-0002.

You may request a maximum of four tickets, so please let me know how many you would like, up to four. Be sure to put a stamp on the return envelope along with your address, including postal code, written clearly.

I look forward to seeing you all at Tokyo Dome on April 17, for a great time at the ol’ ball game. Be sure to get there by 12:30 p.m. in order to catch the pre-game ceremony.

From the e-mail bag:

Hey, Wayne: I’ve been a BayStars fan here in south Yokohama for four or five years and have seen all their changes from Bobby Rose to (manager Daisuke) Yamashita’s firing to letting Tyrone (Woods) leave.

I was bummed when Tyrone departed, but can’t say I blame him for going for more money. Anyway, I have some questions regarding the BayStars.

Did they sign any foreign players in the last 30-60 days I may have missed?

Are you aware of an English-language BayStars Web site?

Currently I access www.baystars.co.jp but there are no English links, so I must use a translation site to be able to read (inconvenient). A friend told me there is a direct English-language site, but I cannot find it.

How do you think Tyrone will do this season with the Chunichi Dragons?

Home run king again?

Or will Tuffy (Rhodes) reign?

Will Takanori Suzuki play regularly with the BayStars this season?

I still think he is a very good left-fielder and capable of jacking an occasional homer or line-drive.

Patrick, Yokohama

Hey, Patrick: The BayStars foreign players this season are first baseman Kevin Witt and pitchers Cedrick Bowers, Mike Holtz and Marc Kroon. All but Bowers are newcomers.

As far as I know, none of the Japanese teams has an English-language Web site. For news about Japanese baseball in English, try Bob Bavasi’s JapanBall.com.

I expect T. Woods will be a contender for the Central League home run title again this year, along with Rhodes and Hiroki Kokubo of the Tokyo Giants, Alex Ramirez and Akinori Iwamura of the Yakult Swallows and Greg LaRocca of the Hiroshima Carp.

By the way, Woods left the ‘Stars because they would not offer him a two-year deal.

As for Suzuki, a former two-time Central League batting champ (.335 in 1997 and .337 in 1998), he seems to have been forgotten as a regular player and relegated to pinch-hitting status.

But he is only 35, and I still think he could play as a starter in left field for the BayStars — or some other Japanese team.

Dear Mr. Graczyk: Could you please explain why Nippon Pro Baseball limits the number of international players?

What are the pros and cons?

Does the MLB also have a cap on the number of international players?

Do you find the Japanese term “suketto” used for foreign players here in Japan offensive?

Do major league teams look at their international players the same away?

OC, Naha, Okinawa

Dear OC: I believe NPB limits the number of foreign players so there will be plenty of jobs for Japanese players and so Japanese fans may identify with their own countrymen and hometown heroes.

I personally do not feel the term “suketto” or “helper” is offensive to foreigners, and I do not believe MLB teams view foreign players in that manner; it is a Japanese cultural thing.

While major league teams have no specific foreign player limit per club, there is a restriction on how many visas may be granted for foreigners to enter the U.S. to play pro baseball each season.

Hello, Wayne: Why does Japan not have the graphics I have seen on TV of U.S. games that show strike zones in superimposed “blocks” and where and how pitches are labeled balls or make it as strikes?

Mark Buckton, Tokyo

Hello, Mark: If you are talking about Japanese TV stations airing MLB games, they use an international feed which is different from what you would be seeing if watching the same game in North America.

If you are referring to the televising of Japanese games, some of the networks here do use the graphic you mentioned, a nine-block superimposed “strike zone” which pinpoints each pitch and also the batter’s “hot” and “cold” hitting zones.

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