Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, in partnership with Yomiuri, have announced that Gloops Japan Opening Series 2012 is being dedicated to celebrating the spirit of volunteerism in Japan. Major League Baseball will open its season in Tokyo, Japan for the fourth time when the Oakland Athletics take on the Seattle Mariners in the Gloops Japan Opening Series 2012, a two-game series scheduled for March 28 and 29.
A million dollar donation made by Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, the US Japan Council and the Japan Cultural and Community Center of Northern California will be used to refurbish Ishinomaki Municipal Baseball Stadium. The stadium is located in the Tohoku region of Japan that was devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. The donation is part of TOMODACHI, a public/private partnership led by the US and Japanese governments to rebuild Tohoku.
The Boeing Company, an MLB sponsor in Japan and the Mariners jersey patch sponsor for the Gloops Japan Opening Series 2012, today joined Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in hosting a clinic for young baseball players in Ishinomaki, a city in the Tohoku region of Japan. The clinic featured members of the Athletics and Mariners along with MLB instructors providing baseball coaching to approximately 100 young people. After the clinic, the players and staff served a meal to the kids and residents of a temporary housing complex near the field. Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Boeing also invited a group of participants from the clinic to participate in a special pregame ceremony prior to the March 28 game. Nine kids will take the field with the Athletics in the first inning to symbolize the return of baseball in the Tohoku region.
In addition, both teams visited members of the United States Armed Forces on military bases in Japan prior to the two-game series. Members of the Athletics spent time with airmen at Yokota Air Force Base and members of the Mariners visited soldiers at Camp Zama, US Army Base. Servicemen and women from both installations were part of more than 19,000 United States soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who took part in relief efforts in Tohoku under “Operation Tomodachi” in the months after the earthquake and tsunami.
Gloops Japan Opening Series 2012 will mark the first MLB season opener in Japan since the Boston Red Sox and Athletics played at the Tokyo Dome in 2008.
Upon conclusion of Gloops Japan Opening Series 2012, the Mariners and Athletics will travel back to the United States to complete an abbreviated exhibition schedule before resuming their Championship Season schedules.
Organizers of Gloops Japan Opening Series 2012 include MLB, MLBPA, NPB and Yomiuri.