Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19 under a plan that excludes fans.
League commissioner Atsushi Saito made the announcement on Monday after an online meeting with representatives of the league’s 12 teams.
The announcement came as the state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and on the northern island of Hokkaido by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The state of emergency was lifted earlier this month for other parts of the country.
Teams can being practice games on June 2.
“I hope we can provide some guidance for sports other than professional baseball,” Saito said. “It is important to operate cautiously according to our guidelines.”
The season was to have begun on March 20 but the start was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan has reported about 850 deaths from COVID-19.
• The Korean Baseball Organization suspended ex-Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang for a year and ordered him to perform 300 hours of community service over a series of drunk driving cases. He had filed to be reinstated from the league’s “voluntarily retired” list.
Charity golf match
is most watched
Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.
Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.
It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.
Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.
The match was shown on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.
The PGA Tour is set to return in two weeks at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
Coronavirus: Georgetown basketball coach and NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing, 57, has been released from a hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home, his son said.
• Europe’s top basketball league canceled the rest of its season over the coronavirus pandemic, as did the top women’s soccer league in England, the Women’s Super League.
• Italian officials made a formal request to postpone the 2021 alpine skiing world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022 because of the pandemic. The Cortina worlds are scheduled for Feb. 7-21, 2021. They are usually held every other winter, in odd years.
Obituary: Oswaldo Alvarez, who coached Brazil at the past two Women’s World Cups, losing in the round of 16 each time, died in a Sao Paulo hospital. He was 63. Alvarez had said he was being treated for liver cancer.