Baseball is back…in Japan. Like South Korea, Japan is able to enact much stricter social distancing controls than the USA and has thus had a much lower coronavirus infection rate. KBO began its regular season last month, and has progressed without a hitch. Today was the beginning of NPB’s regular season. They, like KBO, are playing without fans in the stands, at least for now. Their season is being shortened, but only to 120 games—they’re planning to continue their regular season until Nov 7.
For those who aren’t familiar, NPB has 14 teams and is broken down into two leagues—the Central League and the Pacific League. Since it started play in 1950, the most famous/successful team has been the Yomiuri Giants, with 22 championships, and 13 additional league pennants. Only two other teams have more than 5 championships: the Saitama Seibu Lions (13) and the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks (10). The other teams are the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, the Chunichi Dragons, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, the Orix Buffaloes, the Chiba Lotte Marines, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the Hanshin Tigers, the Yokohama Bay Stars, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, the Ōsaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, and the Shochiku Robins.
I would love it if some US outlet brought these games to broadcast/cable TV…but please show games in the evening. I’ve watched some KBO, but only on the weekends as the Tuesday-Friday games are rebroadcast in the early afternoon when I’m at work, and I’m not getting up at 4AM for anything short of the house being on fire.