Fans of Global Baseball, Take Note

Jeff · August 2, 2006 at 8:02 am · Filed Under Mariners 

If you’re interested in the international side of the national pastime — or if you want a look behind the scenes of the sausage factory that is overseas player acquisition — you’ve got to check out Global Baseball, a new blog by my friend Jon Helfgott.

Basically, he’s going to spend a year traveling the world and watching baseball. I know, I know, with the resulting understandable jealousy it’s tempting to loathe him instantly. But Jon’s project is very interesting, and he’s got a keen eye and sharp attention to detail. His work is being funded by the Thomas J. Watson fellowship, and here’s the essentials of what he’s doing:

I want to use baseball as a medium for exploring the complex dynamics that accompany cultural exchange. For my project, I will immerse myself in various international baseball communities across Latin America and the Pacific Rim, where I will seek out, observe, and engage baseball players, fans, coaches, and scouts wherever I can find them. Baseball’s expansion mirrors the process of economic globalization in many ways. The game of baseball is an accessible and meaningful way to examine the deeper cultural implications of this process.

So if you want to get perspective on international scouting or the latest on potential Cuban defectors, give it a read. Since Jon’s going to Australia, too, I expect him to find the next Doyle.

Also, Jon and I are going to be in Okinawa together for next year’s Japanese baseball spring training, so we’re going to put the “fun” back in “fundamentals.” and the greenies back in coffee.

[See why Dave was so excited to watch Derek and me on live TV? Stuff like this comes out. Anyway, check out Jon’s blog.]


9 Responses to “Fans of Global Baseball, Take Note”

  1. Christopher on August 2nd, 2006 9:03 am

    See. Globalization isn’t all that bad. Along with all the McDonald’s and Pizza Huts we give them baseball too.

  2. Robo Ape on August 2nd, 2006 10:17 am

    Of similar note on the global baseball exchange, I have a friend who, several months ago, quit his investment banking job and moved to France to play pro baseball. If you’re going to it read I suggest beginning in March and working your way forwards through the archives.

    Incidentally I’m not getting any kickbacks or anything so don’t consider this a commercial plug, I just thought it would be of interest to international baseball enthusiasts.

  3. msb on August 2nd, 2006 10:40 am

    speaking of potential Cuban defectors, ESPN has an interview with Gourriel saying he’s home & staying in Cuba….

  4. Josh on August 2nd, 2006 11:04 am

    Looks like a really amazing blog. I love reading that kind of information. Thanks for sharing that, Jeff.

  5. Typical Idiot Fan on August 2nd, 2006 12:31 pm

    Some bad news on the international scene:

    Greg Halman broke his hand and is probably out for the season. Bah.

  6. Deanna on August 2nd, 2006 12:44 pm

    I’m still kind of confused why Okinawa and not the actual top-league games in Japan, though. I mean, I watched the webcams of the Hiroshima Carp’s spring training this year and it was actually 95% boring 🙂

    We should talk sometime before I head off to Japan next month, too (but no, I will not buy Matsuzaka jerseys for everyone).

  7. mln on August 2nd, 2006 6:06 pm

    I believe that something like 1/3 of all players in baseball (both Major and Minor leagues) are international players.

    Maybe it’s long overdue that the mantle of “baseball as our national pastime” should be belong to the Dominican Republic.

  8. JMB on August 2nd, 2006 10:44 pm

    It can still be our national pasttime, though, seeing as it started here and the top level of play is here, too.

    Also, the fellowship’s website says he’s from Bard College. Hey, just up the road from the CIA!

  9. Jim Thomsen on August 2nd, 2006 11:44 pm

    Jon Helfgott? Isn’t that the “Shine” guy?

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