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Baseball is taking off in China

Apr 16, 2013, 9:45 AM EDT

Chinese flag

Slowly, of course. But MLB’s China initiative, which began with Leon Xie, two assistants and one office, is starting to take off.  As Tony Dokoupil writes in Newsweek, one of the reasons for it is an unexpected but, upon reflection, quite reasonable relationship between baseball and Confucianism:

Four years later, as another Major League Baseball season is scored into existence, Xie is packaging the game as a Confucian pastime with modern relevance, a quintessentially Chinese sport …“I mean, talk about Confucianism,” says Jim Small, the director of Major League Baseball for all of Asia, and Xie’s boss, rattling off parallels between China’s ethical philosophy and the American game that inspired nickel-beer night and dugout-dancing mascots. “There’s no clock, you sacrifice yourself for the team, everything is in threes …”

I’m not gonna bet the farm that Jim Small is much of an expert in Confucianism, but I’ll at least go along with the idea that there is some Li — baseball is all about rituals and culture of a certain sort — and filial piety, broadly defined, caught up in the general baseball zeitgeist. At least if you squint a little bit.

What I won’t buy, for reasons that Dokoupil explains in the story, is China becoming a baseball power or producing major leaguers any time soon. But the game seems to be making inroads there. Given the size of the population, and the fact that Chinese athletes have become world class in just about every athletic event that country has committed to in some serious way, it’s only a matter of time before things change.

  1. danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    “if you squint a little bit”
    geez.. racist much?

    • heyblueyoustink - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      That’s not how I read it, and over the years of following Craig, I am certain there was no racial connotation to that remark. It’s not his style, and normally pretty careful in his writing. Lawyer-esque you could say. And I certainly don’t agree with many things he writes, i’m no sycophant.

      So I disagree, you taking a set of a few words and making our narrator out to be Racist.

      Quit being short sited, go take the anti-depressant you missed your dose of, and go away.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM

        telling a guy on anti depressants to go away isnt very nice =*(**

      • heyblueyoustink - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        I’m not a nice person when it comes to short sighted imbeciles…… a rather bad habit. I’m sure you get it alot.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        i do… thats why i’m on anti-depressants =(

      • heyblueyoustink - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:28 AM

        You poor thing. And here I was mistaking you for an ignorant troll.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:31 AM

        technically the guy not realizing he is being trolled would be the ignorant one

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        “Short sighted.” Racist much?


      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:45 AM

        ya! and if theres an expert on racism its oldgator!

      • heyblueyoustink - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM

        If that’s what you call trolling, then I only have one question for you.

        Shouldn’t you be in school today, little boy? Isn’t there a fourth grade spelling bee or something you should be participating in?

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        Now now, as dumb and neurotic as he may be, danielponce has a point about my experience with racism. I marched in any number of civil rights demonstrations in the 60s and 70s (and still do occasionally, including one for Palestinian rights in London and in Israel), got tear gassed and arrested twice (once just released, once just got up and walked away when the idiot cracker sheriff’s deputies told me to stay put and then went off somewhere).

        And danielponce’s credentials? “Oh, I spend time searching out nonexistent racial bias and posting idiot blogs while I wait for my anti-depressants to hit.”

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:02 AM

        ah yes walking! how very noble of you!

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:18 AM

        And you contributed…what?

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:34 AM

        pssshh ive marched on like 3 mlk days. o and i marched for elian!

        MI AMIGO!

        and the rodney king riots… but it can be argued that i was on the wrong side

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        In other words, nothing. As I thought.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        see? you think fighting for elian was nothing. lets send a kid back to his country where people get shot at and imprisoned for trying to leave. but yeah thats nothing. old white guy living in miami. probably pronounces it miam-ah

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        Nope, it’s not that – aside from not wanting to add the political kidnapping of children to our armory of foreign policy options, I think you’re completely full of shit about having marched for anyone. If you’re actually taking antidepressants at all, I suspect it must be out of a realization that you’re useless.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        nothing would make me
        happier than to be of
        no use to one such… as you

        damn. almost stuck the haiku

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        This proves it. C.C. was one of those racist cops who made Torii Hunter show his identification. I am still outraged. The nerve of some people.
        To respond to a burglar alarm…arrive…and actually demand to see photo identification.
        Oh…the outrage. Oh…the humanity. Think. Of. The. Children.
        Speaking Children…
        I am just glad I was able to shield the eyes of mine from such blatant displays of racism.
        Cops asking for i.d. Who the hell do they think they are?

      • badintent - Apr 16, 2013 at 8:20 PM

        Elian was a pawn. I was willing to exhange Janet Reno for him.As in Deporting Reno to Cuba for immediate exection for murdering 50 children in Waco.RIP Boston and Wao children.

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        Right. Reno murdered them, not their crackpot cult leader. Get a life, fool.

      • badintent - Apr 18, 2013 at 12:54 AM

        you don’t have to be a left wing Demohead like you to know that Reno gave the order to the stupid FBI agent in charge to use tear gas that was know to have a low ignite temp in prior operations to understand who was at fault. David might have been guiltly of having sex with underage girl(s) but the FBI had several chances to arrest him OUTSIDE the compound jogging !Bulldozers and tear gas don’t mix. When Reno wasn’t giving orders to use military force on a mostly children and women group. she was ordering the FBI to kill a dog, a young boy and a wife of a man guilty of………..using a hacksaw to cut the barrel of a shotgun. Crime really fits the punishment , eh. Go demostrate for camel humpers on the West Bank next time yahoo.See where that gets you .Hint.. it won’t be tear gas

  2. rbj1 - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    “What I won’t buy, for reasons that Dokoupil explains in the story, is China becoming a baseball power or producing major leaguers any time soon.”

    Chien-Ming Wang is from Taiwan, so he’s technically Chinese. And Taiwan has not relinquished its claim over the mainland.

  3. Shafer's Dealer - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    The game is very quick there. One strike and you’re out…

    • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:38 AM

      No, no, that was during the Great Baseball Revolution. Chinese baseball has been commercialized. And Party members get four strikes. These days, the Party has to offer incentives to join.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM


      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM

        Well, he hasn’t shown that he can think very well – must be the antidepressants – but the boy sure can cut and paste, can’t he?

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        i can cut. the paste is too yummy to do anything with except nomnomnom

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        Very dangerous. Ingredients in paste have been known to interact with antidepressants to cause medicated patients to behave like complete assholes.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        if you feel being an a**hole is dangerous, you might want to modify your behavior.

      • Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        You’re probably right. Baiting adolescents, even idiot ones, is uncool.

      • danielponce - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        not to mention illegal..

  4. mybrunoblog - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Probably be an influx of Chinese players in ghe big leagues over the next 10 or 15 years. This will invariably lead to a blue ribbon task force 50 years from now examining why there aren’t more Chinese players in the league.

  5. onbucky96 - Apr 16, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Great, more jobs shipped to China!

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