In The News
St. Paul Saints To Play Historic Games In Japan
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
SAINTS TO PLAY HISTORIC GAMES IN JAPAN
Will play five games in six days; believed to be first US minor league team ever to play there
ST. PAUL, MN – The St. Paul Saints’ season has been slightly extended. The American Association team will play five games against fellow minor league teams in Japan next month. It is believed to be the first time a United States-based minor league baseball team will play games in Japan.
“It should be a great baseball experience and a great cultural experience,” said St. Paul manager George Tsamis. The team’s entire coaching staff, clubhouse manager Brock Simon and a group of 19 players is expected to go for the trip that runs from October 4-13. “It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
In the addition to the players and staff, others people going on the trip are: Derek Sharrer, Saints’ Vice President/General Manager; Tom Whaley, Vice President/Business Development and Seigo Masubuchi, the club’s Vice President for International Affairs. Tyler Tumminia, PR person for the Goldklang Group, is going and serve as the media contact for the trip.
Mudonna, the team’s two-legged mascot and Andy Crowley, the team’s organist, are also accompanying the team on the trip. “Part of the reason for this trip is to give the Japanese crowds a feel for what it is like to attend a Saints’ home game,” Whaley said. “It is different than what they normally see at their games.”
After arriving in Miyazaki City on October 4, the team will head to Kobayashi City to work out for two days. The first game is set for Saturday, October 7 against the Miyazaki Golden Golds, a team owned and managed by Kinichi Hagimoto, a renown entertainer and comedian. Known as “Kinchan,” Hagimoto is a household name in Japan whose team regularly plays to sold-out crowds. The next day sees St. Paul travel to Saga to face the Saga Spirit.
ST. PAUL SAINTS SCHEDULE FOR TRIP TO JAPAN
Wednesday, October 4 Arrive in Miyazaki City, Japan
Thursday-Friday, October 5-6 Work out at Kobayashi Civic Stadium in Kobayashi City
Saturday, October 7 Game against the Miyazaki Golden Golds in Kobayashi
Sunday, October 8 Game against Saga Spirit at Midori-no-Minori Stadium in Saga
Monday, October 9 Game vs. Fukuoka Blossom at Nagasaki
Tuesday, October 10 Stay in Nagasaki, St. Paul’s sister city, to take part in baseball and cultural activities.
Wednesday-Thursday, Oct. 11-12 Games against Shikoku Island League All-Stars at Kuramoto Stadium in Tokushima
Friday, October 13 Return to the United States
On October 9, the Saints arrive in Nagasaki, St. Paul’s sister city, to take on the Fukuoka Blossom. The team will remain in Nagasaki the next day, participating in baseball and cultural activities. Nagasaki and St. Paul recently celebrated their 51st anniversary as sister cities. The relationship was the first of its kind in the United States.
The club will then play games on October 11-12 at Kuramoto Stadium in Tokushima on the island on Shikoku against an all-star team from the Shikoku Island League. The independent league recently completed its second season. “From what we have been told, this is a top-level league with several guys who could play AAA ball or higher in the United States,” Whaley said. On October 13, the team heads back to the United States.
The trip was organized by American businessman Guy Healy, whose firm has operated exchange programs between the two countries for more than two decades and Tetsuro Jitozono, a Nagasaki entrepreneur. “It’s very exciting – and the type of trip most people dream of,” Tsamis said. “We want to do the city of St. Paul proud and show the high level of play in the American Association. We’re going over there to win but we’re also going to enjoy ourselves.”