Baseball may be America’s pastime, but international players are taking the stage

They call American baseball a hobby, but an increasing number of players from other countries are beginning to make their mark in the United States, including Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball.

America’s passion for baseball began with Abner Doubleday, known as the Father of Baseball, though some conflicting accounts have disproved this stature. still, tell the story That Doubleday invented the sport—including coining the term “baseball”, designing diamonds, and developing several bases—during his time in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. In 1945, Jackie Robinson emerged as the first major black Major League baseball player.

Baseball is an American tradition – from the cornfields of Iowa in “Field of Dreams” to nightly ball games in communities across America’s small towns, baseball belongs as much to rural America as it does to the big plazas of big cities.

Now, however, rural areas may also include the countryside of international locations.

On opening day in 2022, 275 MLB players were born outside the 50 US states, According to MLB.com. The Dominican Republic leads the countries and territories with nearly 100 players. Venezuela followed with 67 players, while Cuba was third with 23 players (tied with 2016 and 2017 for the highest number ever).

Most recently, the talent for world baseball was on full display during the Little League World Series, a baseball competition for young players around the age of 10 to 12.

Honolulu plays Curaçao in a Little League World Series baseball game in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Sunday, August 28, 2022. Honolulu won 13-3. (AP Photo/Tom E.Puskar)

There were 28 different countries sending out their local Little Leagues to compete in the Little League Baseball World Series, as well as teams from 42 states. Countries that have won minor league baseball in the past include Curaçao, South Korea, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, Chinese Taipei and the United States, according to LittleLeague.org.

This year, Hawaii beat Curaçao 13-3.

After the loss, the president of the Curacao Baseball League spoke with the Daily Yonder.

Gedric Magdalena said that although the team lost, reaching the finals was confirmation that they were on the right track.

Jedric Magdalena, president of the Curacao Baseball League. (Photo by Kristi Eaton)

“Just to give you a glimpse into the past … we’ve made great strides,” he told the Daily Yonder in an interview in a field in Willemstad, Curacao. “We’ve been to the finals a few times, but in the past three years, I’ve been in the lead, … we’ve rearranged a few things in terms of how we prepare our children, the direction we give them. It’s been a reassuring process of seeing that all we want to do and get done is the way the correct “.

He said he is happy with the result but it also motivates him to make improvements to the program.

One stat that shows Curaçao’s dominance is that it has the most MLB players per capita of any country

Magdalena said he believes there is a reason players from Curaçao are going far in the game.

“I think it’s just a combination of everything because we not only excel in baseball, we excel in all the sports we play.” He said. “And I just think the weather and the body type of the people we have here – we have a mixture of being Caribbean, African and European.”

Magdalena said it is amazing how much the programs achieve without the same financial support seen in other countries and regions.

“Take myself for example, I got a track and field scholarship,” he said. “When I was younger, I went to the United States and all the facilities I had in my school were great. And then, if we can have 50% of the best facilities or the best countries… I think no one can beat us.”

For Hawaii, dominance was evident in the Little League World Series. This was the state’s fourth win in 17 years. Former President Barack Obama congratulated the team on Twitter.

Kama Angel of Honolulu, CM, celebrates with his teammates after driving a game-winning race to win one in the fourth inning of the Little League Championship in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2022. Honolulu won 13-3 in four runs. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A parade for Team Hawaii is set for September 8 to celebrate the victory.

“It’s just amazing what they’ve accomplished. They’ve sacrificed so much. They’ve worked so hard this summer. They just couldn’t be happier and prouder of them,” coach Gerald Oda said, as quoted Hawaii

“Regardless of the results, every game has been very difficult, I mean it was tough, but I’m just proud of the way these kids handle themselves.”

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