By WBSC Baseball Division, www.ibaf.org
TOKYO, Japan – Players and coaching staff for the newly formed and branded “Europe” continental team arrived in Japan’s capital city on Wednesday and underwent their first-ever training Thursday.
Manager Steve Janssen (Netherlands National Team manager) and Marco Mazzieri (Italy National Team manager) led the European selection through the team’s first workout session, ahead of their two-game series against the top-ranked Japanese National Team, scheduled for 10-11 March at the iconic Tokyo Dome.
“It’s a huge honour to be here and great opportunity to showcase European Baseball,” Janssen told a crowd of reporters attending Europe’s initial workout at JR East Ballpark.
When asked what the target is for Europe in its games versus Japan, Janssen said, “We are not here for sightseeing — we’re here to win.”
Janssen spoke highly about the nation that Europe will be making its historic debut against: “The Japanese National Team is the number one [ranked] country in the world…they can do it all. They are the complete package.”
Last November, Japanese National Team manager Hiroki Kokubo guided the Samurai to victory over a selection of Major League Baseball stars in a best-of-five series. Kokubo will have 19 players from that November roster, which was filled with the biggest stars in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), available for national team service against Europe.
The Europe versus Japan Series is being hosted by NPB.
Friday, 6 March: Visit To Fukushima – Four Years Later
Following the team workout session Friday, members of Team Europe will visit the Fukushima region that was devastated on 11 March 2011. The area is still in the process of recovery from the disaster, and the visit is intended to pay tribute and raise awareness of the region’s ongoing recovery efforts.
Saturday, 7 March: Baseball Clinic with School Children
School children will join the team and have the opportunity to play ball and engage with the European players in a one-hour session after Europe’s official team practice.
Sunday, 8 March: Test match vs. Yomiuri Giants minor league team
On Sunday, Team Europe will play a friendly match versus the minor league affiliate of the Yomiuri Giants. Europe’s coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate the team and get in some ‘live’ game experience.
Monday, 9 March: Practice Session And Press Conference
Team Europe’s final workout will take place at QVC Stadium.
Representatives from both Samurai Japan and Team Europe will attend a press conference at QVC Stadium. The time of the press conference is scheduled for 13:00 – 13:30 local time.
Tuesday, 10 March: Europe vs Japan Game 1 – 18:00
Europe will make its debut on the international stage as the visiting team, wearing their road grey jersey.
Photo shoots for both Europe and Japan will also be organized at the Tokyo Dome prior to pre-game batting practice.
Wednesday, 11 March: Europe vs Japan Game 2 – 18:00
Europe will play its first-ever game as the home team, sporting the white jersey. A special Opening Ceremony will be held prior to Game 2 at 17:25.
Both games of the historic Europe vs Japan Series will be broadcast ‘live’ in Europe via Eurosport 2, in addition to national coverage in Japan.
For real-time updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the Europe vs Japan Series, follow the official Twitter account of the World Baseball Softball Confederation: @WBSC_co. Official Hashtag: #EURvsJPN