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Japan’s prime minister calls for baseball expansion to help the economy

May 22, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

Japan Flag

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe’s economic plan calls for all kinds of things. One of which is baseball expansion:

“Prosperous baseball teams could strengthen attachment to regional cities and help local economies thrive,” said the report, which cited the success of U.S. Major League Baseball in nearly doubling from 16 teams to 30 since the 1960s.

In the U.S. we limit our political/baseball interaction to first pitches and underwriting ballparks, so it’s kind of weird to see that sort of a recommendation as a part of actual policy. It’s also weird to be reminded, as this article reminds us, that in Japan baseball team expenses are all written off as advertising for the corporations which sponsor the teams. Sometimes they’re called the “Tokyo Giants,” but they’re really the Yomiuri Giants. All the teams have corporate names like that.

Anyway, this shows you how lame Major League Baseball’s lobbying efforts are compared to those in Japan. C’mon guys, get with the program. I want to see someone in Washington agitating for more baseball teams this time next year.

  1. SocraticGadfly - May 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    What would be the US version of the Nippon Ham Fighters?

    • sdelmonte - May 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      We have it already. The Green Bay Packers, named for the meat company that paid for the team’s first uniforms.

      • SocraticGadfly - May 22, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        True on that. I was just thinking that particular name sounds like a bunch of Japanese fighting against a canned ham.

      • jwbiii - May 22, 2014 at 4:53 PM

        My mental image is like Rocky. In spring training, they spend time in a meat cooler doing speed bag work with hams.

    • jwbiii - May 22, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      The Little Caesar’s Tigers.

    • tolbuck - May 22, 2014 at 2:13 PM

      The Nintendo Mariners.

  2. rhmurphy - May 22, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    Abe has been leading the charge to force the Japanese economy out of the doldrums it has been in for 25 years. It’s not surprising he’s looking for more investment (whether private or public) on this front too.

  3. Jeff J. Snider - May 22, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    The Japanese flag looks like a Venn diagram just waiting for a funny caption.

  4. sportsfan18 - May 22, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    More baseball teams here?

    many teams simply don’t have enough good players already.

  5. Robert - May 22, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Japan A’s. They would sell about 70,000 tickets for one game.

    • renaado - May 22, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Possible 9 MILLION plus attendance in line!! World record.

      • Robert - May 22, 2014 at 9:31 PM

        What a great post, I never even though of that, The A’s could go from worst attendance to the best, and sign the best players away from the Yankees.

        Plus the Japan A’s could play the rival Yomiuri Giants, who play in Tokyo.

        100 k for each game? A’s owner has found his new home.

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