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Ten years ago this month, Japanese baseball went into its deepest and most memorable crisis. In case you were not in Japan then — or have forgotten — here is a brief review of what happened.

The news broke on a Sunday morning, June 13, 2004, and I heard it on the radio while making breakfast. Two Pacific League teams, the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, and the Orix BlueWave based in Kobe, were going to merge. There had been rumors earlier that year about possible contraction in the Japan pro baseball ranks but, still, this came as a shock

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