Japan to host 2025 MLB season-opening series

The commissioner of Japanese professional baseball has revealed that the opening series of the 2025 Major League Baseball season will be held in Japan.

Sakakibara Sadayuki told reporters on Wednesday that he held talks with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in March in South Korea. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres were matched there for this year's opening series.

Sakakibara said the MLB has decided to hold next year's opening series on March 19 and 20 in Japan as part of its effort to promote baseball globally.

He said which teams will play and the location of the games in the opening series has yet to be decided.

Sources close to the matter say the Dodgers are a candidate. Japanese superstar Ohtani Shohei and compatriot pitcher Yamamoto Yoshinobu are members.

US media have reported that the Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs have been privately informed they have been selected to open the 2025 season at Tokyo Dome.

Sakakibara said he and Manfred did not mention the names of any specific teams during their talks. But he said he asked Manfred to select teams that would meet the expectation of Japanese fans. He quoted the MLB commissioner as saying he would choose teams that can provide high-quality baseball.

A series in Tokyo would be the MLB's first official games in Japan since March 2019, when the Seattle Mariners played the Oakland Athletics. It was the last game for Japanese baseball legend Suzuki Ichiro as a pro player.