Peoria Stadium Hosts Japanese Baseball Team For Spring Training
The Japanese baseball team, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters are holding spring training in Peoria this week and next. The spring training is part of a partnership with the San Diego Padres, who train at the Peoria sports complex.
Sports complex superintendent Mike Hyland said the partnership could bring new fans for the Padres and more opportunities for signing an international player.
“I think it brings in a whole new base of core fans that maybe they hadn’t touched upon, in the future,” Hyland said.
Hyland also referenced other famous Japanese baseball players picked up by American teams like Ichiro Suzuki, who tapped into an international fan base.
This is the first time since 1998 that a Japanese team has held spring training in Arizona.
Japanese news outlets report the Fighters' club president said he thinks the new environment will strengthen the team. South Korean teams are also training in Arizona and will play the Fighters in an exhibition game next week.
The team will live-stream their games and practices for fans abroad.