The first ever professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian subcontinent was launched. The world got a taste of the inaugural Baseball United after a draft had taken place.
The draft popped up on social media with familiar, star-studded names which possessed the likes of four-time All-Star and former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon, eight-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger Award recipient Robinson Cano and three-time World Series champion Pablo Sandoval.
A new professional baseball league in Dubai had its first ever draft today
Bartolo Colon, Robinson Cano, Pablo Sandoval and Didi Gregorius were among the players selected
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) October 23, 2023
Here’s how the baseball world reacted.
— Jerry Hairston, Jr. (@TheRealJHair) October 23, 2023
This is kinda 🔥🔥🔥
— Shelfy (@RealShelfy) October 23, 2023
I don’t even know what the unis look like and I already want a Monarchs hat LMAO
— Flyin_Pineapple✈️🍍 (@hectorjrod13) October 23, 2023
This also appears to be an opportunity for those who haven’t had a shot to continue their baseball career.
With the 12th pick, the @mumbaicobras select Robbie Ross, Pitcher, from Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
Ross pitched 330 innings in the Major Leagues for the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox. Ross was also named the High School Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year in Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/UV8CDAQUH6
— Baseball United (@BaseballUnited) October 23, 2023
It does have people intrigued …
The more I learn about @BaseballUnited the more interested in it I become
— Coach? Nick (@NickJJ95) October 23, 2023
Baseball United is backed by some of the biggest names to ever play the game.
Cano is one of the co-owners of Baseball United with two-time Platinum Glove Award winner Adrián Beltré also being a co-owner, board member and the honorary general manager of the Karachi Monarchs. 15-year pitching veteran Félix Hernández also has his hands involved being a co-owner.
On the Baseball United website, they say that with the Middle East and South Asia being prominently cricket fans, they “believe professional baseball will be the region’s next great sport.” Their mission is to bring one billion new fans to fall in love with baseball.
“Instead of focusing on the sports rivalries that will excite our fans in the future, we wanted to hero the unity that has ignited our league since its inception,” Baseball United majority owner and CEO Kash Shaikh told Arab News last week. “And what better way to do that than spending Thanksgiving weekend here in the UAE, watching our league’s best stars from a dozen different countries all playing with the words ‘United’ across their chests.”
It appears this new league will bring a new audience to a sport that just recently had been branching out against the longtime demographic. A new spin and fresh outlook could create a lot of success.