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NPB Japan

NIPPON PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL IN JAPAN - CENTRAL LEAGUE

NIPPON PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL IN JAPAN - PACIFIC LEAGUE

Chiba Lotte Marines
Chiba Lotte Marines

In 1990, Chiba Marine Stadium was built on the shores of Tokyo Bay and two years later, the Lotte Orions moved there and became the Chiba Lotte Marines. It didn’t take long for people to realize that building an outdoor stadium next to a large body of water isn’t always the best idea, as the ballpark became famous for its difficult playing conditions whenever the weather turned slightly foul.

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Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks

Corporate ownership is the norm in Japanese baseball, with franchises merely considered an asset among many in the large conglomerates that control them. As such, when a company falls on hard times, it often looks to sell the team as they are often money-losing operations that provide little more than publicity.

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Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

The Nippon Ham Fighters were formed in 1948 and spent 55 years in Tokyo, where they were always a distant second in popularity to the Yomiuri Giants. Fighters games often saw the Tokyo Dome nearly empty and the team could never win anything, save a Nippon Series in 1962. The club was widely ridiculed and the corporate owners realized that their brand might be suffering as a result.

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Orix Buffaloes
Orix Buffaloes

In 1997, the Kintetsu Buffaloes moved from their old and decaying stadium at Fujidera to a brand new dome in the city of Osaka. Using the typical Japanese penchant for creativity in naming, the stadium was dubbed Osaka Dome. Known more for its resemblance to a silver spaceship in the middle of the city than an actual functioning ballpark, the dome took on naming rights from electronics concern Kyocera in 2006, and has retained the name Kyocera Dome Osaka since.

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Saltama Seibu Lions
Saltama Seibu Lions

In 1979, the Seibu Lions moved to Tokorozawa, a city in Saitama Prefecture, just north of Tokyo. A new stadium was built for them and called Seibu Lions Stadium in a testament to originality. It was a typically pedestrian ballpark until 1997, when a roof was installed over a two year period and the stadium was renamed Seibu Dome, yet again a brilliant and unexpected decision.

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Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are the newest franchise in Japanese baseball, having been formed in 2005 to fill the void created by the merger of the Kintetsu Buffaloes and Orix Blue Wave. The irony of replacing the Blue Wave is unfortunate as the Eagles are based in Tohoku, which was devastated by the double disasters in March, 2011. The stadium is located in Sendai which sustained heavy damage from the earthquake before the coast was inundated by the subsequent tsunami. Kleenex Stadium...

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