Monday 16 April 2007

Japanese Invasion

No, this is not a post about Pearl Harbour. It is, however, another post about baseball. So if you are fed up with my obsession, stop reading now and come back tomorrow to see if I've moved on to a new topic. No promises though!

Have you noticed the recent talent arriving from Japan to join the Major League Basseball franchises? I have to say I am glad! I often get comments (usually from the uninitiated and ill informed) about how it shouldn't be called a World Series when only the USA play I do point out to them that Canada also plays (hello, Blue Jays fans)! So, this is one of my weaker arguments.

But I must also quickly point out that all MLB (Major League Baseball) teams are multicultural and have been for quite a while. 10-15 years ago the Central American countries of the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica invaded. Today the Major League boasts 71 players from Dominican Republic. these include the greats of Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, & Al Reyes. not sure what they are drinking in DR but it is producing amazing baseball professionals. Venezuela has also contributed to the ethnicity of MLB with 34 of their own.

But now the time of the Far East Tiger has arrived. Japan has contributed 15 players and S Korea has added 6 to the talent pool. Taiwan is struggling with a measly 3 but I can say that is certainly more than the Brits contribute to the MLB rooster (There are NO Brits player baseball in the major league, just for clarification purposes - although I can't imagine who would think there would be).

It is true that the majority of players still come from the USA. But there are just over 20 countries dipping their toe in the baseball DNA pool. So when someone questions whether the ultimate test of baseball superiority should be called The World Series, I just respond that 20 countries are represented. The player participation is based on talent alone. No one cannot play if they are good enough, dedicated enough, and passionate enough. This is enough of a world representation to make is a World Series for me.

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the game of baseball becoming colour blind. Jackie Robinson joined the LA Dodgers on the field and officially crossed the race barrier. This was a huge step for both American sports and American culture. The game of baseball is the American game. And this milestone helped to make the glorious game what it is today.

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