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Baseball to open the season in Japan again

Sep 28, 2011, 3:00 PM EDT

Japan Flag

Major League Baseball just announced that it will open the 2012 regular season in Japan. It will be a two-game set between the Mariners and the Athletics, scheduled for March 28 and 29 in the Tokyo Dome.

Baseball has opened in Japan four times, but not since 2008.  You’ll no doubt remember that it was the 2008 series between the A’s and the Red Sox in which the phrase “And That Happened” was born. Here was the first-ever ATH post.  As you can see, the first ever joke I made in ATH — about a manager’s winning percentage being awesome after having one game under his belt — is the same damn joke I used about Don Cooper this morning. I’m also ragging on the Giants offense and the futility of Barry Zito. I have not progressed one iota, and I’m pretty OK with that.

The series in Japan was also the subject of a brief wildcat strike by the Red Sox over the issue of stipends paid — or not paid — to team staffers.  It was pretty darn eventful!

Hopefully this time we can avoid meme-creation and labor strife.

  1. thomas2727 - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    In related news the Yomiuri Giants have announced the will claim territorial rights for Tokyo?

  2. rollinghighwayblues - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    America’s Pastime, huh?

  3. nolanwiffle - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    これは良くない考えです。 セリグは頭が良くありません。

    • kinggeorge96 - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:01 PM

      Well, ain’t that the truth!

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:22 PM


  4. dwishinsky - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    We couldn’t find a higher-res version of the Japanese flag? Or even create one using the circle shape feature? Did you make that in Paint Craig using the brush?

  5. bigxrob - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Stare at the center of the dot and relax your eyes. An image of a choking Braves player appears.

  6. sdelmonte - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    This is probably meant to encourage the people of Japan as they continue to recover from the earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns, and no doubt will be accompanied by goodwill tours and fundraising. If so, it’s worth the Ms and As losing a little sleep.

  7. b7p19 - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I can only assume that Japan will reciprocate by opening their season in the US. Probably at Wrigly feild so Chicago can cheer on their native son, Matt Murton.

  8. Francisco (FC) - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    So… this ATH idea, how did it go for you? You still think about giving it a whirl?

  9. zakharovsa - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Who was that clueless broadcaster anyway?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:08 PM

      Most people think it was John Mayer. Seriously.

  10. APBA Guy - Sep 28, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    The pressure intensifies for the A’s to re-sign Matsui. Imagine the interest if Matsui were to play against Ichiro in Japan. These might be the biggest crowds the A’s would see in 2012, and that would just be the media.

  11. The Baseball Idiot - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    So when are they going to open the season in Europe?

    They actually do play ball there. Ask the Dutch and the Italians.

    • paperlions - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      When it is clear that there is real money to be made selling broadcast rights in Europe.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        So it’s about the money and not the product?

        Yeah, I know. You’re right. Sad, because I live in the UK and there is a market here. A 2 or 3-game series to open the season would sell out easily.

        Too bad Bud and his boys just don’t understand that there is actually a market here.

      • paperlions - Sep 28, 2011 at 4:47 PM

        I think it is about the size and rabid interest of the markets. The Japanese seem to be much greater baseball enthusiasts than the Europeans…it is to them what soccer is in the EEU.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 28, 2011 at 5:21 PM

        You’re right about that. And if it was just one country, I would agree completely. But Europe is small, and any games over here would draw from all over the continent, and not just be dependent on one country.

        They would sell out over here. At least as much as a typical Astros/Pirates/A’s game. Bud can’t know if he doesn’t try.

        One year and see how it goes. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

      • paperlions - Sep 28, 2011 at 7:35 PM

        I understand that…but playing the games in Japan isn’t about selling out the games…it is about increasing interest in MLB to attract more pro japanese players to come to the US, which will increase the amount MLB will make from selling international broadcast rights and on MLB TV from Japanese subscribers….I don’t think those types of gains would be forth coming after a short series in Europe. I could be wrong, but that is my guess as to why MLB sends teams to Japan and not Europe.

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