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 rewarding 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 and The Dominican Dream, published by Yale University Press; and Baseball on the Border: A Tale of Two Laredos.