• Kyodo

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The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles announced Friday that they will convert their home park, Kobo Stadium Miyagi, into the Pacific League’s only natural turf field ahead of the 2016 season, while increasing seating capacity to over 30,000.

The measures are expected to cost ¥3 billion and will include turning the grass slopes behind the stands in left-center, which have been used as general admission seating, into a park with a Ferris wheel.

“We want our product to be such that people will think both the baseball and the ballpark are superb so let’s come again,” team president Yozo Tachibana said.

Ever since the club was established in the autumn of 2004 and Miyagi Stadium remodeled with artificial turf for the team’s first season, Rakuten has looked into converting the playing surface to grass. And now, the necessary technology to maintain a grass field in the cold weather of northeastern Japan has become available.

The seating expansion is expected to be complete by the middle of May.

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