Sowing some pinstripes seeds in a far-off land


For your Saturday morning reading pleasures: The Yankees go to China. Late last month, as part of baseball’s effort to penetrate the Chinese market and the Yanks’ effort to spread their franchise globally, team officials headed across the Pacific for a trip to the Far East, and Xiyun Yang of The Times’ China bureau tagged along for some of the trip. Her article is an interesting one because it captures China’s approach toward sports in a rather intriguing light. Despite the billions of people who live in China, only four million play the game there, and to most, it remains a mystery.

Still, Randy Levin and Brian Cashman dragged the World Series trophy with them to drum up interest in the sport and for good reason. As Yang notes, baseball is looking for its Yao Ming, its big Chinese superstar who will open up a very large and lucrative market. The team that finds this player will stand to benefit for years. Most of the youngsters Yang talked to seem to be rather mystified by the game, but all it will take is one person to tip the country. If that means a trip to a nation more focused on Ping Pong, badminton and the NBA than the every move of Johnny Damon, that’s just the price to be.

Categories : Asides, News


  1. Have those Chinese players the Yankees signed come stateside yet?

  2. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    The Yankees just recently signed another Taiwanese player, Fu-Lin Kuo, he’s a 3rd baseman. I can hear the fans now when he makes an error, “F.U. Fu”.

  3. RollingWave says:

    China’s baseball is making progress, but still, it routinely gets it’s ass handed to them by the tiny island of Taiwan and their baseball players (outside of those in the states anyway) are best known for throwing games for money. ack.

  4. Accent Shallow says:

    I feel that it may take a generation or two for baseball to take hold in China, but a superstar would definitely accelerate the process. Here’s hoping it’s someone the Yankees find.

  5. Accent Shallow says:

    I’m a selfish baseball fan — I want anyone who could play baseball at an All-Star level in MLB, not the NBA, NFL, Olympics, etc etc.

    So this is a good thing.

  6. Bob Stone says:

    I understand how promotion of baseball overseas is good for MLB. But I have yet to see how it directly benefits any individual team.

    As far as the Yankees go, the Stadium is pretty much sold out already. The Stadium advertising space is sold out as well. It won’t help YES. Profits from the sale of caps, jerseys, etc. go to MLB and then are split evenly among all thirty teams.

    The argument that overseas stars make money for the Yankees has come up before with players like Hideki Matsui. I just don’t see how it benefits the Yankees except in getting 1/30th of any additional Yankee gear they sell.

    I’ve seen a few articles that dispute the marketing value of foreign players like Matsui or Wang. I have yet to see anyhting written that shows how a team like the Yankees makes any significant profit from these activities.

    The way I see it, the Yankees are being good corporate soldiers for MLB. This current missionary trip to the Far East will benefit MLB far more than it will help the Yankees.

    • Bob Stone says:

      P.S. – I am talking only about the revenue and profit aspects of this trip. I do believe that the trip can help the Yankees in overseas talent recruiting.

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