[QODLink]
Sport
Major League to debut in China
The LA Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play two exhibition matches in Beijing.
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2008 10:43 GMT

The Padres and the Dodgers hope to hit it off
with baseball fans in China [GALLO/GETTY]

Major League clubs the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play two games in China in March as US baseball aims to develop a strong relationship with the Asian giant in its bid to expand globally.
US Major League Baseball's (MLB) first games in China will be played on March 15 and 16 at the 12,000-seat Wukesong Baseball Field, which is the venue to be used for the 2008 Olympic Games.
"Baseball is a developing sport in China and we have had lots of MLB support in recent years so I am convinced these games in March will give a strong boost to the sport here," Meng Wei, vice chairman of Chinese Baseball Association, told a press conference.
 
Representatives of MLB and its players union attended the press conference to announce plans for the games, which the Chinese association will host.
 

"You are going to see significant major league players here. We are not going to give you a bum roster."

Dave Winfield,
Padres' vice president

MLB officials said China was the focus of the league's drive for international expansion and that without a Chinese presence the sport could not be considered truly global.
 
"We don't see how baseball can be a truly international sport unless we embrace the playing of baseball in the great country of China," said Gene Orza, head of the MLB players association.
 
"These games are very important to us and to all the people who share that vision of baseball being a truly international sport."
 
Spring training in the east
 
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, Padres' vice president, and Joe Torre, manager of the Dodgers, said top players would be on the roster for the March exhibition games, which will form part of the teams' 2008 MLB spring training schedule.
 
"You are going to see significant major league players here. We are not going to give you a bum roster," Winfield said.
 
Torres said the two games, followed in August by the Olympic baseball competition, would be a significant showcase for the sport in China.
 
The Dodgers already have links with China.
 
In 1980, the club helped build the first practice field in Beijing and funded construction of a baseball stadium in the nearby city of Tianjin.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list