Friday, March 12, 2010

It is too a global game

This is just a little tidbit from the article "Baseball Gone Global" at Foreign leagues are nothing new and have been around for almost 100 years now. Baseball started in the United States, moved to Canada, then Cuba. Since 1922, national leagues have been forming all over the world, playing in international tournaments, and sustaining leagues all over the world. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but just a few that come from the article:
Canadian baseball began as closely connected with its starting point in the United States. As early as 1877, a professional league featured teams from both countries.

It was in Cuba on the year 1878 that a formal baseball league was formed outside the U.S. and Canadian soil. The country is known for its rich baseball tradition and has the reputation of having one of the strongest teams since the beginning of the international play during the 1930s. Between the periods of the war, many countries formed their own professional leagues namely: The Netherlands on 1922, Australia on 1934, Japan on 1936 and Puerto Rico on 1938. Not until after the world war that the countries of Latin America joined in the roster of pro baseball leagues. Venezuela and Mexico joined the picture on 1945, and the Dominican Republic on 1951. Asian countries also came up with their pro leagues during these years: Korea on 1982, Taiwan on 1990 and China on 2003.
So, to recap:

Canada - 1877
Cuba - 1878
Netherlands - 1922
Australia - 1934
Japan - 1936
Puerto Rico - 1938
Venezuela - 1945
Mexico - 1945
Dominican Republic - 1951
Korea - 1982
Taiwan - 1990
China - 2003

Looks like someone could establish a pretty good tournament with those countries. Oh wait, they all played in the World Baseball Classic. Twice.

Of course, this doesn't count leagues in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, Israel, Guam, Colombia, and Venezuela, to name a few.

Americans might not care about the international game much, but to me, this just points out what Bud and his boys (and all the nay-saying American fans) haven't figured out yet.

Baseball is a global sport, and not a new one. It's been going on for quite awhile. Pretending like the game is a niche sport in just a few countries does a great diservice to the game. The game doesn't need the Olympics. It needs the sponsorship and backing of the most prestigious league in the world.

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