Amid the fury of the sixth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Japan's 12 NPB teams will open their spring training camps on Tuesday in Miyazaki and Okinawa prefectures, where locals are hoping the game can bring an economic upturn.

With the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant, the sense of unease surrounding baseball's spring is mounting as one player after another has become infected.

In January alone, at least 70 players have tested positive, with infections having increased through groups of players taking part in the joint non-mandatory workouts that are common in the weeks leading up to spring training.