Baseball fans are well aware that the game has become increasingly international. Major league rosters include players from no fewer than fourteen countries, and more than one-fourth of all players are foreign born. Here, Alan Klein offers the first full-length study of a sport in the process of globalizing. Looking at the international activities of big-market and small-market baseball teams, as well as the Commissioner’s Office, he examines the ways in which Major League Baseball operates on a world stage that reaches from the Dominican Republic to South Africa to Japan.
The origins of baseball’s efforts to globalize are complex, stemming as much from decreasing opportunities at home as from promise abroad. The book chronicles attempts to develop the game outside the United States, the strategies that teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Kansas City Royals have devised to recruit international talent, and the ways baseball has been growing in other countries. The author concludes with an assessment of the obstacles that may inhibit or promote baseball’s progress toward globalization, offering thoughtful proposals to ensure the health and growth of the game in the United States and abroad.
Alan M. Klein is professor of sociology and anthropology, Northeastern University. He is author of Sugarball: The American Game, The Dominican Dream, published by Yale University Press; and Baseball on the Border: A Tale of Two Laredos. He lives in Boston.
The Crisis at the Core 13
The Kansas City Royals: Shopping Without a Credit Card 30
The Los Angeles Dodgers: Bright Lights, Big Market 54
The Dominican Republic: Fishing Where the Fish Are 90
Japan: Emerging from the Feudal Eclipse 125
Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom: The European Backwater 169
South Africa: Baseball and the New Politics 196
When Will There Be a Real World Series? 215