Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seibu Lions Training camp: Paradise or work?

A view from the Miyazaki hotel, photo credit to Anthony Seratelli.
The Saitama Seibu Lions will be in training camp starting on February 1. There is both an ichi-gun and ni-gun camp separating the teams into two locations.

For the ichi-gun, they will be in Miyazaki Prefecture (southern part of Kyushu island) in Nichinan, (better known as Nango). They will occupy a Prince hotel, which is owned by Seibu. Other teams will spend their time in various places, including Okinawa, which is off the map. The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters ichi-gin will be in Peoria, Arizona and occupying the San Diego Padres facility from February 1-15.

The ni-gun will be in Kochi city, which is in the prefecture of the same name within Shikoku island. For a full list of both camps, you can click here.

Photo credit to Anthony Seratelli
Miyazaki has a load of sights, which includes a shrine and a beautiful view from the hotel dining room. Last year, all foreign players including Ernesto Mejia got to take part in picking Kinkan (tiny oranges) as well as sight seeing the area. A short video on their adventures can be seen here.

Training will be rather intense and it will be advised for foreigners to not partake in the full conditioning process. Anthony Seratelli injured himself trying to do all the exercises that the Lions will have and wasn't available until late May.

All six foreign players on the Lions were given an orientation in Miyazaki for 2015. Photo credit: Wade LeBlanc
This is a time for both team bonding as well as preparation for the upcoming 2016 season. It can easily be a distraction for a visitor being in the country. Several foreign imports will have made the trip setting foot in the land of the rising sun for the first time.

Andy Van Hekken and C.C. Lee will be the only two newcomers on the Lions who've never played baseball in NPB. They should have a similar tour of Miyazaki like the others experienced last year.

For many foreign players, it should be their time to embrace their new job in Japan if this is their first time. It will be a lot of work coming ahead, but they should enjoy this new chapter of their careers and be open minded to playing in a new country. It will be a learning experience.

For Van Hekken, he has already spent the last four years in South Korea, where he is already familiar with playing overseas. C.C. Lee is from Taiwan, but has not played professional baseball in Asia, outside of the 2009 World Baseball Classic for his country. Lee spent his entire professional career with the Cleveland Indians organization up until this point.

Competition will be big, among the closer, 3B and outfield positions in the ichi-gun.

For the rookies in Kochi, they will hope to crack time with the first team and possible be sent over there in the middle of the camp.

Kochi is part of the scenic island of Shikoku, which features four prefectures total. It's most well-known for a seared tuna dish as pictured above.

The presumed facility the Lions ni-gun will be using. 
Spring training officially starts the new season for baseball, even though opening day is less than two months away. Teams are preparing their rosters and hoping to answer any questions among players with uncertainty.

We hope to see the growth of the rookies as well as other positions being established for the new year. They should be living by the motto of BEAST! in 2016.

Ganbarre Raionzu / 頑張れ ライオンズ!


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