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Northern League Owners Meeting Takes Place in Tokyo, Japan, October 29-30

October 25, 2004 - Northern League (NL) News Release

The Northern League of Professional Baseball announced today that it will hold its annual Owners Meetings in Tokyo, Japan on Friday and Saturday, October 29-30.

The owners and directors of the 12 Northern League franchises as well as three league officials: Commissioner Mike Stone, Director of Baseball Operations and former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mike Marshall, and Director of Communications John Blake will attend the meetings.

The Northern League owners and officials will be hosted by the league’s Calgary franchise, which is owned by a group headed by Tokyo businessman Naoto Higuchi. Mr. Higuchi serves as Calgary’s League Director. The Calgary franchise joins Edmonton as expansion franchises which will begin play in 2005.

This is believed to be the first time that a professional baseball league from North America has held its annual Owners Meetings in Japan.

During the trip, the Northern League contingent will also be exploring the development of an Independent Northern League in Japan. League owners and officials plan to meet with parties which have expressed an interest in such an endeavor.

The Northern League is the oldest and highest attended Professional Independent Baseball League. The league enters its 13th season in 2005 with 12 total teams in eight states in the United States and two provinces in Canada. Northern League franchises are located in Fargo-Moorhead. North Dakota; Gary, Indiana; Joliet and Schaumburg, Illinois; Kansas City, Kansas; Lincoln, Nebraska; St. Paul, Minnesota; Sioux City, Iowa; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In 2004, total Northern League attendance was 2,002,364 for an average of 4,269 per game. That was the top average attendance among the five pro Independent Leagues and ranked fifth overall among the 19 pro minor leagues.

In addition, a record 20 Northern League players were signed by major league organizations during the 2004 season. A total of nine former Northern Leaguers players in the major leagues in 2004, including Atlanta Braves outfielder J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Millar, and Seattle Mariners rookie lefthanded pitchers Bobby Madritsch and George Sherrill.

The Northern League’s 2005 96-game regular season begins on Friday, May 20 and concludes on Sunday, September 4.

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