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Pro ball team plans to train in Naha City

Date Posted: 2008-12-18

The professional baseball Yomiuri Giants have announced plans to begin spring training at Onoyama Comprehensive Park in Naha City starting in 2011.

Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga made the announcement, saying “I have been negotiating with the Giants to come to Naha City since 2004. I am so happy and inspired by this news.” The mayor pledged the city’s “support for the team, and to make this team strong.”

Giants team representative Hidetoshi Kiyokake says the decision was made because “Okinawa has wonderful warm weather, and almost all professional teams have winter camps in Okinawa, where there are great sports facilities.” He added “In the beginning, Okinawa will be the team’s second training camp site. Our team has been in Miyazaki Prefecture for 50 years and the prefecture has helped and supported us greatly.” The team spokesman says “we are not going to withdraw from Miyazaki, because we still need it. Each season the first training will be there, then the second session will be here in Naha City.”

Onoyama Comprehensive Park’s main baseball stadium is under construction, with completion set for March 2010. It will seat 30,000 spectators watching events on a field of black and other mixed soil suitable for natural grass. The stadium is near an indoor sports facility dome also being built.

“The first formal professional baseball tournament,” says Mayor Onaga, “could very possibly be held in Naha City.” Nine professional baseball teams currently train in Okinawa, making it easy, he says, to have both training games and tournaments.

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