For the first time since '06, a team of Major League Baseball all stars will visit Japan in November for a series of games against the Japan national team in what "some see as a reincarnation of what had become a biennial 'Nichibeiyakyu' (Japan-America Baseball) series," according to KYODO. But for Nippon Professional Baseball and its union, "it is something altogether different." Japan Professional Baseball Players Association Secretary General Toru Matsubara said, "I don't like calling it 'Nichibeiyakyu.' They are more like Samurai Japan-Major League games." National team senior staff member Kenjiro Kato said, "We don't see these games as exhibitions. We are treating them as meaningful competition. And the players association is, too." In '06, the players association "dropped the bomb that it would no longer participate in postseason major-league tours." MLB Japan President Jim Small was "surprised by the decision but never stopped trying to find a way to bring big leaguers back." He said the "idea of games against Samurai Japan" surfaced in talks with former NPB Commissioner Ryozo Kato. Matsubara said the games "are meaningful in the big picture." Matsubara: “Samurai Japan is about winning the WBC and this is part of that buildup and the players are behind it. It’s about growing the game in Japan on all levels. NPB’s 12 teams are not so profitable that they can ignore the monetary benefits of success in the WBC. It may be kind of a Japanese thing that players feel pride in their teams’ financial success" (KYODO, 7/16).
Events and Attractions
At least 12 people "have been struck down by a suspected vomiting bug at the Glasgow 2014 athletes' village just as star performers begin to arrive," according to Victoria Brenan of the HERALD SCOTLAND. The workers have "reportedly gone down with sickness and diarrhoea at the multi million pound venue in the past few days." The bug, which health officials "fear may be the highly infectious norovirus, is so far believed to be limited" to '14 employees. There have been "no reports of athletes being affected." NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde consultant Dr. Gillian Penrice said, "Norovirus is the most common stomach bug in the U.K. and it is common to see the virus in the community. It's usually mild and generally lasts for 24 hours." The first of 45,000 athletes have "moved into accommodation at the 700 home site at Dalmarnock with the rest due to arrive in the next few days" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 7/16). The London GUARDIAN reported Glasgow 2014 organizers admitted they were aware of a "small number" of cases "among the workforce at the site in the Dalmarnock district" and were investigating. With competitors "due to start arriving this week, an advisory message has already been sent out which states there is a possibility the virus could be 'highly contagious'" (GUARDIAN, 7/16).
The Australian Football League has "divvied up seats for this year's Grand Final, with more than one in five tickets slated for corporate use." Competing clubs will "split 30,000 tickets," while the Melbourne Cricket Club accounts for 25,000 and the AFL Reserve, "including Medallion Club members, 21,000" (HERALD SUN, 7/16). ... Organizers of the 61st Macau Grand Prix "have made improvements to ensure this year's event is more 'people friendly.'" Macau Grand Prix Coordinator Joao Manuel Costa Antunes said that the event "would have less interference with local people's daily lives and it would try to minimise any disturbances" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 7/15). ... The Asian Games' South Korean organizing committee and Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding signed a contract to "sell the Asiad tickets and help promote the biggest sporting event in Asia" (YONHAP, 7/16). ... The next two editions of the Scottish Open will continue to showcase Scotland's links courses with the announcement that Gullane Golf Club and Castle Stuart Golf Links will host the championship in '15 and '16, respectively. In addition to the future venues announcement at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, it was also revealed that, beginning in '15, the Scottish Open will be preceded by a new, 54-hole qualifying tournament for Scottish golfers -- to take place the weekend preceding the Scottish Open -- which will offer six places in the Championship. Further details of the qualification tournament will be announced at a later date (European Tour). ... A senior member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said that the party "has compiled a set of proposals to boost the number of foreign tourists in Japan toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by utilizing information technology" (KYODO, 7/16).