Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Japan’s quake-hit areas pull the plug on night baseball

Reuters, TOKYO

Japan’s Pacific League will pull the plug on night games near quake-ravaged parts of the country to help conserve energy amid widespread power shortages and blackouts.

The six team owners agreed to the measure at an emergency meeting yesterday following the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The Pacific League, which has pushed back the start of its season from March 25 to April 12, will also restrict game times to 3-1/2 hours, Japanese media reported.

Japan’s government had called on Japan’s professional baseball leagues to halt night games as the country battled to avert a nuclear crisis and repair its electricity grid.

“We intend to do everything we can to help the situation through baseball under the supervision of the government,” the Pacific League said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Central League could be set to face more criticism after pushing back the start of its season only four days to March 29.

However, the Central League did agree not to play extra innings this season as part of a compromise which did not go down well with the Japanese players’ union.

The union wants both leagues to start the season at the same time and has yet to respond to Saturday’s decision by the Central League.

The Pacific League includes a team based in the quake-hit city of Sendai, whose stadium has been damaged and is expected to take “weeks” to repair, the club said.

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