Friday, November 2, 2018

Arizona Fall League Welcomes NPB (Japan) Umpires

The 2018 Arizona Fall League welcomed two umpires from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), who joined the MiLB umpire roster in MLB's premiere offseason development program, producing a rare six-man crew in the AFL.

Fresh off the NPB season in Japan, umpires Chikara Tsugawa and Shinji Hashimoto flew to Arizona and have been officiating with American minor league umpires in the Fall League.

For instance, the October 30 Salt River Rafters-Mesa Solar Sox game might have sported an attendance of just 615 at Sloan Park, but its umpire manpower was playoff caliber, with HP Umpire Chikara Tsugawa, 1B Umpire Jansen Visconti, 2B Umpire Nestor Ceja, 3B Umpire Dan Merzel, LF Umpire Shinji Hashimoto, and RF Umpire Brennan Miller.

This isn't the first NPB-MLB umpire collaboration nor is it Tsugawa's first international umpiring experience, either. He officiated with Ted Barrett's crew during pool play of the 2017 World Baseball Classic tournament. Tsugawa also took part in the 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series, which featured split squads of NPB and MLB officials.
Related Post2018 Arizona Fall League Umpire Roster (10/1/18).
Related Post2017 World Baseball Classic Umpire Roster (3/6/17).
Related PostRoster: 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series (11/11/14).

Hashimoto worked the November 2006 NPB-MLB All-Star Series at the Tokyo Dome, a partnership between the USA and Japan umpiring bodies that clearly continues into the present day.

Tsugawa and Hishimoto were crewmates during the 2018 NPB season and are now crewmates in the 2018 AFL.


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