2020 Nippon Professional Baseball season

The 2020 Nippon Professional Baseball season was the 71st season of professional baseball in Japan since Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) was reorganized in 1950. There were 12 NPB teams, split evenly between the Central League and Pacific League.

2020 NPB season
LeagueNippon Professional Baseball
SportBaseball
DurationJune 19 – November 25
Number of games120
Number of teams12
Central League Pennant
League championsYomiuri Giants
  Runners-upHanshin Tigers
Pacific League Pennant
League championsFukuoka SoftBank Hawks
  Runners-upChiba Lotte Marines
Climax Series
CL championsN/A[1]
  CL runners-upN/A
PL championsFukuoka SoftBank Hawks
  PL runners-upChiba Lotte Marines
Japan Series
ChampionsFukuoka SoftBank Hawks
  Runners-upYomiuri Giants
Finals MVPRyoya Kurihara
NPB seasons
2021 →

Season scheduleEdit

The 2020 season was originally scheduled to begin on 20 March, with a break from 21 July to 13 August, for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.[1] On 26 February 2020, the league announced that its remaining spring training games would be held without fans in attendance, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.[2][3] With health related precautions in place, the media was allowed into some ballparks.[4] Following another league meeting on 9 March, commissioner Atsushi Saito stated that the 2020 season would be postponed until April.[5][6] Saito also said that the league aimed to retain a full regular season schedule of 143 games.[7] This announcement marked the first time since 2011 that a Nippon Professional Baseball season was delayed.[8]

On 18 April, the league announced that it would remain delayed indefinitely through the entirety of May, with the 18-game interleague schedule removed to accommodate a 125-game schedule. The delay of the 2020 Olympics meant that the three-week Olympic break would no longer be needed. Therefore, it was removed from the schedule.[9] Before the league began play, the 2020 season was shortened to 120 games, and scheduled to end on 7 November.[10][11] As a result of the condensed schedule, it was also announced that the First Stage of the Pacific League Climax Series would not be played, with the top two teams from the regular season competing in a best-of-5 Final Stage which the regular season winner enters with a one-game advantage. The Central League would do away with its Climax Series entirely, with its regular season winner advancing directly to the 2020 Japan Series.[12]

With the lifting of states of emergency over major Japanese cities, NPB announced that it would begin its regular season on 19 June behind closed doors. "Warm-up" games began 26 May.[13] All twelve NPB teams played on as scheduled on 19 June.[10] On 10 July NPB began allowing a limited number of fans to attend games, with plans to further ease restrictions in the near future.[14] On 19 September, attendance was expanded to a maximum of 20,000 fans per game, or 50% of stadium capacity.[15]

Regular season standingsEdit

Central League regular season standings[16]
Pos Team G W L T Pct. GB
1 Yomiuri Giants 120 67 45 8 .598 -
2 Hanshin Tigers 120 60 53 7 .531 7.5
3 Chunichi Dragons 120 60 55 5 .522 8.5
4 Yokohama DeNA BayStars 120 56 58 6 .491 12.0
5 Hiroshima Toyo Carp 120 52 56 12 .481 13.0
6 Tokyo Yakult Swallows 120 41 69 10 .373 25.0
Pacific League regular season standings[17]
Pos Team G W L T Pct. GB
1 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 120 73 42 5 .635 -
2 Chiba Lotte Marines 120 60 57 3 .513 14
3 Saitama Seibu Lions 120 58 58 4 .500 15.5
4 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 120 55 57 8 .491 16.5
5 Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 120 53 62 5 .461 20
6 Orix Buffaloes 120 45 68 7 .398 27

Climax SeriesEdit

  Pacific League Climax Series     Japan Series
                 
    CL1 Yomiuri Giants 0
  1 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 3     PL1 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 4
  2 Chiba Lotte Marines 0  

Pacific LeagueEdit

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks won the series, 3–0.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 November 14 Chiba Lotte Marines – 3, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 4 PayPay Dome 3:19 19,901[18] 
2 November 15 Chiba Lotte Marines – 4, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 6 PayPay Dome 3:27 19,995[19]

Japan SeriesEdit

Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks won the series, 4–0.

Game Date Score Location Time Attendance 
1 November 21 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 5, Yomiuri Giants – 1 Kyocera Dome Osaka 3:34 16,489[20] 
2 November 22 Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 13, Yomiuri Giants – 2 Kyocera Dome Osaka 3:40 16,333[21] 
3 November 24 Yomiuri Giants – 0, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 4 PayPay Dome 2:58 17,297[22] 
4 November 25 Yomiuri Giants – 1, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks – 4 PayPay Dome 3:22 19,679[23]

League leadersEdit

Central LeagueEdit

Pacific LeagueEdit

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

1.^ The 2020 Central League Climax Series was cancelled. As a result, the regular season champion Yomiuri Giants advanced directly to the Japan Series.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Baseball: Fans asked to abort balloon launches over coronavirus threat". Kyodo News. February 8, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  2. ^ "Japanese pro baseball to restrict spectators from 72 preseason games". Japan Times. Kyodo News. February 26, 2020. Archived from the original on February 27, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020. Alt URL
  3. ^ Woods, Amanda (February 27, 2020). "Japanese baseball fans barred from preseason games over coronavirus fears". New York Post. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  4. ^ Coskrey, Jason (February 29, 2020). "Giants and Swallows compete without familiar sights and sounds at ballpark". Japan Times. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "Japan's pro baseball league delays season start over coronavirus". Kyodo News. March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "Virus postpones opening of Japanese pro baseball season". Taiwan News. Associated Press. March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  7. ^ Nagatsuka, Kaz (March 9, 2020). "NPB to delay start of regular season due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreak". Japan Times. Retrieved March 13, 2020.
  8. ^ "Start of Japan Pro Baseball Regular Season to Be Delayed". Jiji Press. March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  9. ^ "Japan's baseball league delayed again, no date set for start". Associated Press. ESPN.com. April 18, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "After three-month virus delay, Japan opens its shortened baseball season". ESPN.com. Associated Press. June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  11. ^ Nagatsuka, Kaz (May 25, 2020). "NPB can play ball in Japan from June 19, but minus fans". Japan Times. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "2020年度セ・パ公式戦 全試合日程発表". Nippon Professional Baseball. June 15, 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Tarrant, Jack (May 25, 2020). "Baseball-Japan's baseball league to start on June 19". National Post. Reuters. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  14. ^ "お待たせ!プロ野球7・10に6球場一斉観客解禁…上限5000人". June 23, 2020. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  15. ^ https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/3a012be940c6c0b7ae6f38184410eba93a2a1c67
  16. ^ "2020 Central League Standings". Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  17. ^ "2020 Pacific League Standings". Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  18. ^ "Saturday, November 14, 2020". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  19. ^ "Sunday, November 15, 2020". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  20. ^ "Saturday, November 21, 2020". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "Sunday, November 22, 2020". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  22. ^ "Tuesday, November 24, 2020". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  23. ^ "Wednesday, November 25, 2020". Nippon Professional Baseball. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  24. ^ "2020 Central League Qualifiers for Batting Championship". npb.jp.
  25. ^ "2020 Central League Qualifiers for Earned-Run Average Title & Top Relief Pitchers". npb.jp.
  26. ^ "2020 Pacific League Qualifiers for Batting Championship". npb.jp.
  27. ^ "2020 Pacific League Qualifiers for Earned-Run Average Title & Top Relief Pitchers". npb.jp.