Baseball makes its pitch in China

In the US, Independence Day on July 4th features barbecues, fireworks and baseball. October 1 marks the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, featuring parades, speeches and, maybe someday, baseball, too. Major League Baseball began promoting baseball in China by training China’s team for the 2008 Olympics. With baseball out of the Olympic movement after the Asian Games in November, critics say MLB has squandered its best chance to build grassroots support, sell merchandise and win TV audiences. As I reported in Asia Times, MLB officials say they’ve barely begun their quest to win Chinese hearts and minds and find baseball’s equivalent of NBA star Yao Ming. Earlier this year, China’s designated professional sports entrepreneur Kenny Huang issued press releases about branching into baseball, so it may be the early innings of a contest between MLB and the home team in the world’s fastest growing consumer economy.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.

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