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Ginoza, Ishikawa City battle for hosting Tigers' camp

Date Posted: 2002-05-28

Every year Okinawa plays a host to more than seven professional baseball teams having their spring training camps here. The teams arrive in February and stay for a few weeks. The latest team to express interest in having their spring training camp in Okinawa is Hanshin Tigers of Osaka, one of Japan's Central League's top teams. Ginoza Village and Ishikawa city are fiercely vying for the honor of hosting the team. The team would attract hundreds of newspaper and TV reporters, fans and other tourists giving local businesses a considerable boost.

Ginoza Village Mayor Yasukatsu Urasaki and Ishikawa City Mayor Hideyoshi Kinjo are leading the campaign to attract the team to their respective municipality. Originally Ginoza had an inside track in the contest, as they were the first to approach the Tigers whose representative earlier inspected the facilities the village had to offer. That led Ginoza officials to cancel the contract they already had with another team Nippon Ham Fighters.

At the same time, Ishikawa City asked the help of Okinawa Visitors' Bureau. Ishikawa City has been a host to a Korean pro-baseball team, but wanted to have a Japanese team instead. The ace that would help Ishikawa to clinch the deal with the Tigers is the city's plan to build an indoor facility called "Sky Dome." That would allow the team to train even on rainy days. On the other hand, Ginoza offers larger training grounds outdoors. On their part, Hanshin Tigers has promised to make up their mind between the two by the end of May.

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