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Volume 10 No. 23
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NBP Hoping To Leverage Sponsorship To Convince Players To Play In The WBC

After discussing a number of issues with World Baseball Classic organizers following the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association refusing to participate, the Nippon Professional Baseball league revealed that it "owns certain rights to sponsorship revenues stemming from Samurai Japan's participation in the event," according to Jason Coskrey of THE JAPAN TIMES. Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters representative Toshimasa Shimada said, "We were able to reconfirm that Japan could own these rights." The NPB's sponsorship revelation "may be a positive sign, after it seemed like little was gained" from the NPB officials' meeting with WBC organizers in N.Y. last week. NPB officials are "expected to sit down" with the JPBPA soon and present the results of their meeting "in hopes of convincing the players to compete." Should a resolution not be reached, "neither side is going to come out looking very good." A WBC without Japan "is a flawed entity." Japan "brings a cache from outside of the Americas that no team can match." And not delivering a team "would be a blow to the NPB's reputation and the players, by essentially taking their ball and staying home." The players would "run the risk of being seen as sacrificing the greater goof for their own benefit" (THE JAPAN TIMES, 8/21).