While the Major League Baseball season still is on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, another league overseas will open up play next month. Japan's professional baseball season will begin on June 19, according to ESPN, and fans will not be allowed in the stands.
League commissioner Atsushi Saito is excited about the start of the 2020 campaign, and he made the official announcement on Monday after the state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and on the northern island of Hokkaido.
"I hope we can provide some guidance for sports other than professional baseball," Saito said, according to ESPN. "It is important to operate cautiously according to our guidelines."
Games were supposed to begin in March, but were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Teams now can begin training on June 2, and they join the leagues in South Korea and Taiwan as some of the only leagues open and playing without fans.
Meanwhile in the United States, MLB has yet to agree with its players association on a way to begin the season amid the pandemic. Players have cited safety and pay concerns as reasons for not wanting to begin the season. However, the league does have a plan in place for a shortened 82-game campaign, so they just need to iron out the details with the players.