MLB sets 2019 season opener, 2018 all-star tour in Japan
Major League Baseball will have a strong presence in Japan over the next year.
MLB announced on Tuesday it will open its 2019 regular season with two games between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome, in addition to a postseason tour of the country by MLB stars set for this November.
The American League (AL) West rivals will meet on March 20-21 in Tokyo with the A's serving as the home team, and each major league club will face Japanese professional teams in exhibition games March 17-18.
The A's and Mariners previously opened the 2012 major league season in Tokyo in a similar series. This will mark the eighth time MLB has opened its season outside North America.
Konnichiwa! The Oakland A's are proud to announce our participation in the Tokyo Opening Series to start the 2019 Major League Baseball season. pic.twitter.com/VRCkgpOhxb-- Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) May 1, 2018
The postseason all-star tour of Japan is back for the first time since 2014, when a team that included Jose Altuve, Robinson Cano, Yasiel Puig and Evan Longoria made the trip to face a roster featuring a young Shohei Ohtani.
This year's games will begin November 8 with an exhibition against the Yomiuri Giants before the MLB and NPB all-stars face off for six games in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya on November 9-15.
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and all those making a great effort in preparation for the Japan-U.S. All-Star Series," Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Atsushi Saito said in a release.
"It has been four years since Samurai Japan and MLB last met. With our goal of winning a gold medal in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, this gives our players experience in high-level games against MLB players.
"Many Japanese players have made their way to the U.S., and that has certainly brought MLB close to baseball fans throughout Japan. I am also looking forward to the 2019 MLB Opening Series in Japan, which enables us to feel a very different excitement from that of NPB. This long-awaited Japan-U.S. All-Star Series will be a great opportunity to further deepen our bilateral relationship."