Ryukyu Blue Oceans: Okinawa’s first-ever pro baseball team

Ryukyu Blue Oceans: Okinawa’s first-ever pro baseball team

From left, BASE Inc. President Toshiya Kitagawa, BASE Okinawa Baseball Club Executive Advisor Yasushi Tao and the club’s president, Futoshi Kobayashi announces the formation of Okinawa’s first professional baseball team, the Ryukyu Blue Oceans, on July 18 at the Okinawa Prefectural Office.

July 19, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

BASE Okinawa Baseball Club is forming Okinawa’s first professional baseball team, and intends to join the NPB, Nippon Professional Baseball Organization.

The club’s president, Taishi Kobayashi and Executive Advisor Yasushi Tao, held a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Office on July 18.

Tryouts will be held in November, and the newest pro team will be in full-swing by January 2020.

The team name, Ryukyu Blue Oceans, was chosen as an ode to the island’s blue oceans and the limitless possibilities it represents.

BASE Okinawa Baseball Club will be headquartered in Ginowan City, and the team’s home field will be located in Ginowan and Urasoe City, with Miyako-jima City as its second home field.

Coach and staff will be appointed by October, under the leadership of Futoshi Kobayashi, former player for the Yokohama DeNA Bay Stars, and Tao, who was the Tohoku Golden Rakuten Eagles’ inaugural head coach.

The club will offer twenty to thirty pro athlete contracts, and the new team is slated to play exhibition games in the Shikoku Island League Plus and the BC League, as well as the NPB second and third farm-team exhibition games.

The Blue Oceans will endeavor into the professional leagues once the NPB expands its cap on new teams.

Kobayashi, who during his career trained in Okinawa between seasons, explained the genesis of the project: “I always found it curious that Okinawa has been without their own team, when the locals and kids are such baseball enthusiasts.

We thought [forming a new team] would provide an opportunity to harness that passion, and so we chose Okinawa.”

Tao’s father-in-law was involved in instituting the Kitamae Hospital, and has maintained ties to the island for nearly four decades.

Tao said of the project, “I’m elated to be involved in creating Okinawa’s first team.

It also reminds me of my playing days. I hope to help in any way possible.

” Tao also shared his ambitions: “Innumerous people wish to play baseball in Okinawa. We’re assembling highly talented coaches to create the best environment for our athletes.”

The club’s parent company, BASE Inc., is a sports management company representing professional athletes. BASE president Toshiya Kitagawa said, “The three-year plan is to build an Okinawan team people enjoy. We’re hoping the fans will eventually push for the team’s NPB debut.”

(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)

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