Saturday, March 15, 2008

Baseball History is Being Made. . .

As I start writing this on the night of March 14, I am disappointed that I have been deprived of the opportunity to watch baseball history being made because of "technical difficulties." For once, the gremlins are not mine but those of a television feed fro China to the U.S.

It's only a pre-season exhibition game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres but it is being played in . . . Beijing. This is the first professional game ever played in China! And it was supposed to be aired at 10:00 p.m. PDT here in Los Angeles. But, alas, it is not being broadcast as promised. As it turns out, the game ended in a 3-3 tie and an account of it can be found here on

But this game has gotten me thinking about the changes in professional baseball in The Ancient One's lifetime. When I was born 7 decades ago, the Major Leagues had a total of 16 teams and all the players were white. Ten years later in 1948 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier when he was brought up to the then Brooklyn Dodgers. Sixty years later, the Major Leagues have players from around the world. There are players from Aruba, Australia, Canada, Columbia, Cuba, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela. At the start of the 2007 season, 29% of all players on Major League rosters were born outside of the U.S.

As the new season approaches, Alicia and Seth are treating Donna and me to a special day. On March 29, we will be in the monstrous crowd watching the Dodgers play the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum where the Dodgers played when they moved here from Brooklyn (in 1955) and stayed until Dodger Stadium opened in 1957. What is most amazing about this nostalgic baseball setting is that over 90,000 tickets have been sold for this EXHIBITION GAME. And they are trying to find a way to add more seats to meet the demand for tickets.

And then the 2008 season will get under way for real. Go Dodgers! And, remembering my roots, Go Tigers!


Eric Valentine said...

Great post Leon, but don't forget also, the "Toronto Blue Jays" the only team to win the world series outside of the States and they did it back to back years my friend.. :))))

Leon said...

Point well taken Eric! I actually was going to include comments about the Major Leagues going international with both the Blue Jays and the Montreal Expos (who have since moved back south to Washington, DC). But somehow, when I came back this morning to finish and edit the post, I left that out. I am pleased, however, that an ex-pat Brit is that knowledgeable about pro baseball. :~D

Now I am hoping that they have the TV feed working tonight when the 2nd game of the Dodgers/Padres Beijing series is scheduled to be televised. :~)

Eric Valentine said...

I think baseball is an exciting game Leon, so much strategy is deployed in a given situation within the game, it sure beats cricket! LOL

Hope you get your game Leon but you would think that they would play a tape at least. :)

Leon said...

I did get to see today's game Eric; it came on at 10 p.m. last night. It did make for a late night but was worth it (even though the Dodgers lost).