Japan’s Answer to the Arizona Fall League

» 15 October 2009 » In kbo, npb, sports business »

Japan’s answer to the Arizona Fall League is the Miyazaki Phoenix League, a 17-day long instructional league held in southern Japan. However unlike the AFL, the Phoenix League is not only a place for prospects to gain experience, but an opportunity for the stars to prepare for the playoffs. Hisanori Takahashi recently pitched four innings in a Phoenix brush-up start and Yu Darvish plans to join Nippon Ham’s Phoenix team to rehab from injury.

The Miyazaki Phoenix League consists 12 NPB teams, the Futures team (consisting a mix of NPB farm players), the Hanwha Eagles and Doosan Bears of Korea, and an All-Star team from the Shikoku-Kyushu Island League. The 16 teams will play a total of 112 games. Even though the fall league started out with all games being cancelled due to a typhoon, the fans have had many opportunities to interact with players and it’s been a special time for this sports-deprived region of the country.

Small cities in Arizona and Florida are the mecca of baseball during the spring and it makes sense for the NPB to construct their instructional leagues in different regions during the offseason. 17-days long tournament can bring a financial surplus for rural Miyazaki and even though some of the teams are concentrating on the playoffs, it is the best time of the season for the baseball fans in southern Japan.

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