Report: MLB, Japan champs could play

Updated: January 8, 2010, 12:06 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

TOKYO -- The United States and Japanese baseball champions could meet in a Global World Series, Japanese daily Nikkan Sports reported Thursday.

Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato was quoted as saying his Major League Baseball counterpart, Bud Selig, had agreed the winners of the two countries' professional leagues should play each other.

"I was surprised, Mr. Selig said he wants to realize the plan before his tenure ends," Kato told Nikkan Sports.

Selig is set to retire in 2012.

When he took office in 2008, Kato -- a former Japanese ambassador to the United States -- said one of his goals was an international series between the world's two biggest baseball nations.

Officials of Major League Baseball and the players' association said Thursday there had been no discussion of such a plan. An agreement between management and the union would be necessary.

Japan is the two-time defending champion of the World Baseball Classic, a tournament of national teams that includes professional players from leagues around the world that is played during spring training. The next WBC will be played in 2013.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.