America's Pastime Comes to China PK Beckham Comes to China

It's February and though Beijing is currently experiencing a bit of spring weather, its shocking to thing that in the US baseball players are already reporting to spring training. In this, the Olympic year, Major League Baseball has decided its time to come to China and play some spring training ball in Beijing. Forgive me for yawning. It's hard enough for me to get excited about baseball, but spring training baseball? Not for me...

However, for those baseball lovers, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will go head-to-head at Wukesong Baseball Stadium on March 15th and 16th. The NBA was the first US sports league to come to China and while the NFL had plans to play at the Bird's Nest this year, those were scuddled. Baseball attempted entry in China a few years back and a domestic league was established, though it was basically ignored and quietly disappeared after a season or two. China's team at the baseball world cup last summer was a bit of a disaster as well, getting romped in every game. Although this is all true, MLB has pushed into the market, while the sport still isn't popular here, they've released a clothing line that can be found in higher end malls that is modestly popular, especially with hip hoppers. For those interested in checking out America's pastime, tickets can be purchased through for RMB50-1280.

As an aside, in an interesting translation, though they are using 中国赛 like the NBA did, MLB is deciding to translate it as "China Series" whereas the NBA went with "China Games." Here's the baseball logo:

and here's the NBA's version this year:

Personally, I prefer the MLB's version, incorporating the team's logo and a Tiantan shadow, unlike the very generic NBA logo.

Slightly more interesting and also LA-related, Beckham's world tour will stop off in Shanghai on March 5 as the LA Galaxy play a "Shanghai East Asia" team. I'm still not clear exactly who the team will be made up of, perhaps a combination of players like Beckham's last trip to China with Real Madrid when they faced off against the "Dragon team." I know the game is all about Beckham, but having watched both the MLS and the CSL for many years, it would have been very interesting to see teams from each league go head-to-head, especially considering both LA and a would-be opponent like Shanghai Shenhua are both currently going through their preseason preparations.  Tickets for "Beckhamfest" will range from RMB50-2008 (surprise, surprise).

edit: More news on the team, its made up of players from Shanghai and Hong Kong and will thusly be called Shanghai-Hong Kong United and the squad will be picked by veteran Chinese coach, Xu Genbao.

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