July 26, 2021

Japan’s NPB announces June 19 start to 2020 season (Athletics Nation)

Baseball in Japan will return on June 19, reports Kaz Nagatsuka of the Japan Times. The Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB) made the announcement on Monday, after the original March opening date of their 2020 season was pushed back three months by the coronavirus pandemic.

The normal 143-game NPB season will be shortened to around 120 games, with no fans in attendance at first but the possibility they could be allowed as the summer goes on. Other potential changes being discussed include an altered postseason format and a cap on the number of innings a game can go, while the annual All-Star Series has already been canceled. Team will play two weeks of practice games beginning June 2, though the regular season schedule hasn’t yet been finalized beyond the date of the opener.

The NPB is not the first major pro baseball league to return to action amid the pandemic. The CPBL in Taiwan opened on April 11, and the KBO in South Korea got going on May 5. The CPBL has even started allowing some fans into stadiums to attend games. However, in the U.S., Major League Baseball still hasn’t figured out its own plan or set a specific date, nor have they even committed to the fact…

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