With virus still in play, NPB scraps All-Star series for the first time

Nippon Professional Baseball has canceled the mid-summer All-Star series for the first time in history to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, which has already thrown the regular season into turmoil.
NPB officials and representatives of all 12 baseball teams reached the decision at a meeting on May 11.
The All-Star games were scheduled for PayPay Dome in Fukuoka on July 19 and at Nagoya Dome in the capital of Aichi Prefecture on July 20, a national holiday.
The fan-favorite All-Star games have been held annually since their inception in 1951. But the pandemic this year forced NPB to indefinitely postpone the opening of the season, making fan voting and selection of the All-Stars uncertain.
“We will have to work on an irregular number of games, which makes it difficult to decide how to name All-Star players,” NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said at a news conference.
The Fresh All-Star game for players from farm teams, scheduled to be held in Matsuyama on July 13, has also been scrapped.
NPB officials are aiming to open the season “sometime between mid-June and late June.” But the games will be held without spectators for a while, the officials said.