11/16/2002 07:09 am ET
Yankees team with Yomiuri Giants
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
TOKYO -- The New York Yankees and Yomiuri Giants announced an extensive scouting and minor league non-player personnel agreement at a press conference Saturday afternoon in a hotel immediately adjacent to the Tokyo Dome.
The agreement is open ended, said Randy Levine, the Yankees president. It gives the Yankees no inside track on signing Giants slugger Hideki Matsui, a free agent who is playing for the Japan All-Star team and has declared his intentions to play in the Major Leagues next season. Nor is it a first step toward establishing a broadcast agreement that would allow networks in both countries to telecast the other team's games.
"We went into this partnership because we continuously seek ways to improve and get better," Levine said. "Obviously, the Giants have such a fundamentally solid organization. There are so many things that we can learn from them so that we can get better. We welcome an association with an organization that does things so well."
Levine was flanked during the press conference by Stephen Swindal, the team's general partner, Brian Cashman, its general manager, and Jean Afterman, Cashman's assistant. Representing the Giants was Yoshinori Horikawa, their president, Makato Doi, their general manager, and Gyo Ishiguro, the executive officer from Yomiuri's culture and sports project bureau.
"Through this working relationship we're hoping we'll be able to receive tremendous amount of correct information on Major League players," Horikawa said. "The areas we've agreed on are very, very basic. The goal is to work at it in the future and discuss and further strengthen this relationship."
The teams are the most successful in their respective leagues and countries and have combined to win 46 championships. The Yankees have won the World Series a record 26 times and the Giants have won the Japan Series a record 20 times.
Levine said that a memorandum of understanding signed by the two clubs on Saturday was previously analyzed and approved by Major League Baseball's Office of the Commissioner. Levine said any future changes, which might include broadcast or player rights, would be pursued under the strict guidelines of MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball, as were the initial stipulations of the memorandum of understanding.
The document spells out seven facets of the new relationship:
Exchange of general baseball information, including scouting reports on professional baseball players in the U.S. and Japan.
Exchange baseball rules and regulations active in the U.S. and Japan.
Hold at least one meeting annually about the above mentioned topics.
Exchange of minor league personnel, such as coaches and staff, but not including players.
The Yankees will support the Giants in scouting and player development in Latin America.
The Giants will support the Yankees in scouting and player development of Asia and the Asian Pacific rim.
The two teams will exchange technology and information on player rehabilitation and conditioning.
"It is our sincere hope that this agreement through the exchange of ideas and programs will lead to continued success for the Yankees and Giants," said Swindal, who is the son-in-law of Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner. "For now and for the next generation of players in the U.S. and Japan, we hope this will be a wonderful partnership."
Barry M. Bloom is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.