Thursday, July 08, 2004

AP: "Japan's baseball owners reject World Cup plan"

By JIM ARMSTRONG,
Associated Press Writer
July 8, 2004


TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's owners rejected a plan to hold the first baseball World Cup in the United States next year.

The owners do not want major league baseball in charge of the event and would prefer the International Baseball Federation, an official in the Japanese commissioner's office, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press.

That could leave major league All-Stars such as Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners without a chance to play for their country in the World Cup.

However, another official in the Japanese commissioner's office, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said Japan might still be interested in participating if the event is structured differently.

If major league baseball owners approve the plan and deals are reached with the players' association and the International Baseball Federation, the 16-nation tournament would take place from approximately March 4-21 next year.

Under the proposal, the major league baseball commissioner's office and the players' union would split profits from the World Cup. The owners in Japan also objected to that part of the plan.

Another problem could be the timing. The regular season in Japan usually starts in the final week of March or the first week of April. Players who take part in the World Cup would have 10 days or less of exhibition games with their clubs.

Officials from the major league commissioner's office prefer to have the tournament before their season rather than in November, after the World Series.
 
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