NPB commissioner Atsushi Saito announced in an online press conference that the NPB will start the 2020 season on June 19. The season will be reduced to 120 games.
The teams will play no interleague games and will face each league opponent 24 times. This year, no All-Star Game will be played.
Practice games will start on June 2nd and each team will have four series of practice games. Like the other two main baseball leagues in Asia, Taiwan’s CPBL, and Korea’s KBO, the 2020 NPB season will also be played without fans in the stands, at least for now.
In a press release, commissioner Saito stated the following:
“We were forced to change the schedule several times from the originally planned March 20th, and we apologize for the inconvenience and anxiety to players, stakeholders, and fans. We hope that holding professional baseball encourages all the people who suffer from the feeling of being blocked by going out and refraining from going out and that it can show the guidelines for holding sports other than professional baseball.
I am very pleased to be able to make the decision to open the event, but rather, I think it is of utmost importance to proceed with careful preparation and to carefully manage the athletes, the people involved, and their families while protecting them carefully. We are. We have created detailed guidelines. We will carry out the game safely in accordance with the guidelines confirmed by all teams.”
Central League teams have expressed their wish to skip the playoffs. But commissioner Saito said that no decisions have been made yet.
The decision may have come a bit as a surprise as recently it was announced that the highlight of the Japanese baseball season, the Koshien High School Tournament in Osaka, was canceled due to the coronavirus.