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MLB stars to return to Japan for series in November

Let the barnstorming begin.

A set of Major League stars will tour Japan and play a five-game series against a group of stars from Nippon Professional Baseball this November. The series, dubbed All-Star Series 2014, will be the 36th time that a team of big leaguers has toured Japan.

All-Star Series schedule
Date Matchup/location
Nov. 11 Exhibition game vs. Hanshin Tigers
Yomiuri Giants at Koshien
Nov. 12 Game 1 at Kyocera Dome, Osaka
Nov. 13 Travel day
Nov. 14 Game 2 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
Nov. 15 Game 3 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
Nov. 16 Game 4 at Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
Nov. 17 Travel day
Nov. 18 Game 5 at Sapporo Dome, Sapporo
Nov. 19 Travel day
Nov. 20 Exhibition game vs. Team Japan, Okinawa

The practice dates all the way back to 1908, and it has included 10 previous times that All-Stars from both countries have played each other. The last time Major League Baseball sent an All-Star team to Japan was 2006, and the MLB roster -- comprised of diverse players like Chase Utley, David Wright, Ryan Howard, Joe Mauer and Jose Reyes -- swept its Japanese counterpart in five games.

This time, the All-Star Series games will be held in Osaka (Kyocera Dome), Tokyo (Tokyo Dome), Sapporo (Sapporo Dome) and Okinawa (Okinawa Cellular Stadium), and it will run from November 11-20. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association jointly announced the trip to Japan as part of an official news release on Tuesday.

"Major League Baseball is delighted that many of our finest players will represent our sport during the 2014 Japan All-Star Tour," said MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. "This event will not only resume a longtime baseball tradition, but also will illustrate the historic bond that links us to our Japanese friends and peers. On behalf of our clubs, I thank Nippon Professional Baseball, and all of us at Major League Baseball look forward to another memorable experience."

"The Players are once again excited to be traveling to Japan to participate in 'All-Star Series 2014,' " added Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association. "The sport of baseball has played an important role in creating the bond that exists between the United States and Japan, and the current generation of Major Leaguers is thrilled to be doing their part to strengthen that relationship. We thank the Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball for helping make these games possible."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for