Dubai to host new professional baseball league in November

The organisers want the new league to follow in the footsteps of the Major League Baseball

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Kash Shaikh (left), President, CEO, Chairman of the Board, and Majority Owner of Baseball United, during the press conference. — Supplied photo
Kash Shaikh (left), President, CEO, Chairman of the Board, and Majority Owner of Baseball United, during the press conference. — Supplied photo

Published: Fri 4 Aug 2023, 12:22 AM

Baseball, America's favourite pastime, has now found a place in the heart of the UAE as the Baseball United, a new ambitious professional league, announced the launch of its two new franchises, Dubai Wolves and Abu Dhabi Falcons, on Thursday.

The other two franchises in the four-team inaugural season of the league are Mumbai Cobras and Karachi Monarchs.


The first edition of the new league will take place in November this year at the iconic Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

During a press conference in Dubai, Kash Shaikh, President, CEO, Chairman of the Board, and Majority Owner of Baseball United, said the organisers want to create a new league in the Middle East and South Asia region that can follow in the footsteps of the world-class professional leagues in Japan, Venezuela and even the Major League Baseball in the United States.


“This is a historic day for our organisation, for baseball, and for the UAE,” said Kash at the press conference which was also attended former MLB stars Nick Swisher, Adrian Beltre and Felix Hernandez.

"It's so amazing to work together (with all the stakeholders) with our shared passion of exporting America's past time to this part of the world for the first time in history."

Kash revealed what inspired them to bring baseball to South Asia where cricket is almost a religion and to the football-obsessed Middle East.

"One great example is the Dominican Republic, the small island in the Caribbean. It's actually now the number one producer of professional baseball talent in the world," Kash said.

"We know cricket is massive in South Asia but you would be surprised to know that in India alone, there are 53 million baseball fans.

"Pakistan have 12.5 million baseball fans and here in the the UAE we have 800,000 people that love baseball.

"So that has inspired us to start this journey almost two years ago.

"The barriers to entry were incredibly challenging. The difficulty level is high. And this dream of ours will most definitely not be easy.

"But today was one of those magical reminders that if we keep believing, keep building, and keep our focus on our current and future fans, we can help make baseball the region’s next great sport.”

Meanwhile, John Miedreich, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Vice Chairman of the Board, and Co-Owner, Baseball United, doffed his hat to the Emirates Cricket Board and the Dubai Sports City for their support.

“The partnerships that we continue to forge here in the UAE have given us the momentum and support necessary to build this league the right way,” said Miedreich.

“We are grateful to all the people and organisations who have joined us on this pursuit, and we’re looking forward to even more partners teaming with us in the future.”

Nick Swisher, one of the greatest MLB players of all time, was excited to be involved in the new league as an investor.

“I’ve spent my entire life in and around the game, and I truly believe that Baseball United is a game-changing opportunity to transform baseball into a global sport," Swisher said.

"We have the right team, the right plan, and the right culture in place to go make history."

The first edition of the league will only see four matches.

"The league will be bigger next year and in 2025 it will be even bigger," said Kash.

All you need to know

What?

Baseball United is a new four-team professional baseball league

When: November, 2023

Where: Dubai International Cricket Stadium

Teams: Dubai Wolves, Abu Dhabi Falcons, Mumbai Cobras, Karachi Monarchs

First season schedule:

Nov 10: Mumbai Cobras v Karachi Monarchs

Nov 11: Abu Dhabi Falcons v Karachi Monarchs

Nov 11: Dubai Wolves v Mumbai Cobras

Nov 12: Dubai Wolves v Abu Dhabi Falcons


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