Baseball Reflections


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Baseball Continues Global Affair – Major League Baseball continues to reflect an international flavor as 27.7 percent of the 833 players on 2010 Opening Day rosters and disabled lists were born outside the United States.

The foreign-born players represent 14 countries and territories, with the Dominican Republic leading the way with a contribution of 86 players on the active rosters, and 83 on the DL or restrictive lists.  Next on the foreign country list is Venezuela with 58 players.  The rest of the list:  Puerto Rico (21), Japan (14), Canada (13), Mexico (12), Cuba (seven), Panama (five), Australia (four), Taiwan (three), and Colombia, Curacao, Korea and Nicaragua (two each).

As a team, the New York Mets have the most foreign-born players with 18 from seven countries and territories; five other teams – the Chicago Cubs, the Colorado Rockies, the Anaheim Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Texas Rangers – have 10 foreign-born players each.

The number of foreign-born players continues to reflect the globalization of baseball, though the 2010 figures are down slightly from last year when 28 percent of the players at the start of the season were born outside the United States.  The all-time record for foreign-born players was 29.2 percent in 2005.

In addition to the majors, 48 percent of players in the minors – 3,370 of 7,026 – were born outside the U.S., virtually assuring that foreign countries will continue to be well represented in Major League Baseball for years to come.

In related news, Major League Baseball has revamped its operations, expanding its Scouting Bureau to cover Latin America.  The announcement was made by Sandy Alderson, the new head honcho in the Dominican Republic, who will oversee baseball reform in the country.

Essentially, the Scouting Bureau is a centralized group of player evaluators, separate from any team, that provides scouting reports on players entering Major League Baseball’s annual draft. That bureau will now also provide reports on players throughout Latin America, players who are not currently subject to the draft, leading some to speculate that enhancing the responsibilities of the Scouting Bureau is a prelude to an international draft.

While Alderson has downplayed that interpretation as premature, scouting reports on Latin American players could assist Major League Baseball in addressing some of the fraud that has undermined baseball in the Dominican Republic.  As many as 10 team officials in recent months have been accused of inflating scouting reports on Dominican players to increase signing bonuses, then pocketing a portion for themselves; several have been fired.  The scouting reports could also provide another layer of security for Major League Baseball in its battle against age and identity fraud among young Dominican players.

To Everything There Is A Season – When President Barack Obama tossed out the ceremonial first pitch to open the 2010 baseball season, it marked the centennial of a presidential tradition started by President William Howard Taft.

I couldn’t help but reflect that when Taft started the tradition, the national pastime had an unwritten rule preventing African Americans from playing in the majors.   Poet Walt Whitman was shortsighted when he said “I see great things in baseball.  It’s our game – the American game,” because not all Americans were included.


A hundred years later the world is included in the game – and the man tossing out the first pitch is African American.  Now I see great things in baseball; as my Dominican friends would say,Es nuestro juego también.”

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