Baseball – “KING” sport in Japan

By | January 26, 2019

In Japan, football is a sport that receives a lot of attention and develops very quickly. However, this is not the most popular sport in Japan. The sport that attracts the largest number of fan here is baseball.

Overview of Japanese baseball history

Japan’s professional baseball tournament started in 1937. However, baseball was known in Japan more than half a century ago. Around the 1870s, baseball was brought into Japan by some American teachers and professors. It was used as a tool to show off the physical and intellectual strength of the players. In the first professional tournament, there was only one prize and eight teams competed in two seasons: spring and autumn. In 1950, the tournament expanded with 14 participating teams. It was divided into two separate tournaments with a certain number of teams. After many years, some teams changed their names.

The rules

Baseball - "KING" sport in Japan

Until 2000, teams often played between 130 and 135 matches a season. However, since the 2001 season, teams have played 140 matches in a season. Matches will determine the winner after 9 rounds. In each round, 2 teams will take turns to fight and defend. After the team has 3 players out, 2 teams will exchange positions for each other to continue. The turn of each round is called Omote (表), and the return is called Ura (裏 or ウ ラ).

In each season, the Central League and the Pacific League will select 28 best players to form two teams to compete against each other. Of the 28 Central League players, fans voted 11 players, the remaining 17 players were chosen by the coaches. In the Pacific League, the fans elected 12 players (one more DH player), and the others were voted by the coaches. After each season, about 200 experts will vote on the 9 best players in 9 positions on each field award to award “Best Nine Awards”.