There is perhaps no more global sport on the professional level than baseball. At some level of the professional game, over 35 countries on five continents are represented, and the number grows each year. Major league Baseball International spends millions developing players around the globe, and the results can be seen in recent weeks, when Chinese Taipei edged Australia for the World Junior title, Cuba won the World University championship, and this week the Women's World Cup is being played in Venezuela. The coming Little League World Series will also have its global look and later in the fall millions will tune in to watch the World Series. Yet for all its domestic success, it is basketball (this week announcing regular season games in London between New Jersey and Toronto) and soccer (with Chinese investor Kenny Huang looking to add to his work in hoops) continues to grab headlines that baseball should also have. Why is tha.
Maybe its becuase of the length of the season and the amount of news generated by MLB and by Minor League Baseball in the States. You fish where the fish are, and tell your story to your immediate consumer. However the issue lies not in the present but in the future, and that is where basketball excels. David Stern preaches and then has staff deliver on all levels about basketball being a global game. Soccer becuase of the nature of its fans, is a global game that even MLS can embrace now on a world stage. Baseball is MLB and then everything else. In order to grow a fan base in the States, one that needs to include a new immigrant base that may not be coming in as a fan or consumer of baseball, the game needs to reach out and tell its story. As evidenced by the recent results, the story is there to be told. The game is flourishing in new places and will continue to do so. However without the effort and attention to detail in telling the story, baseball can lose an opportunity to grow virally in those emerging communities.. Yes people will have a chance to see MLB highlights and games around the world. Thise highlights create inspiration. However without telling the local story to a global audience you miss the aspirational effect baseball can have, and it is that aspirational effect…that I as a fan or an athlete not only like the Majors but enjoy baseball for its social and recreational aspects…that can have the biggest effect on growing the game in the future. It is what basketball as a sport does amazingly well, what soccer does greatly, and what baseball needs to do more of to expand into new markets into the future.