On April 18th, 43 baseball teams from a ranks of Beijing-based colleges and universities gathered at the baseball field of Tsinghua University to welcome the opening ceremony of 12th MLB Beijing Collegiate Baseball Tournament (literally translated).
It is the fourth time that MLB and Beijing Collegiate Athletic Association jointly hold this tournament. As reported, a swarm of viewers showed up at the field of Tsinghua University.
In the meanwhile, the collegiate baseball tournament in Shanghai had just starts before that in Beijing. Besides, the new season of China Baseball League (CBL) is set to kick off as the opening day approaches. It can be said that Chinese baseball is opening up a new dimension.
It can't be ignored that Chinese national baseball team had difficulty times due to budget reduction and lockout of the CBL since baseball wasn't concluded as an Olympic game in 2012. But it was the setback that Chinese national baseball team had turned out to empower the rise of collegiate baseball leagues in China with more resource and money filled.
But not only the collegiate baseball has emerged in recent years, baseball leagues among primary schools, particularly in Beijing, are well on track with the help from MLB since the year of 2001. MLB has helped build baseball fields in more than 100 primary schools in China since then and introduce baseball to pupils there. It is MLB that witnesses the increasing population that play baseball on campus in China in recent years.
Besides, the sports reform empowers the development of sports industry, baseball included. It is believed that Chinese baseball will see growth in popularity with more investments and funds filled in. There is expectation on the grassroots baseball in China that it will possibly emerge in the near future when more and more college students who fall in love with baseball graduate. This would hopefully change the baseball landscape in China. As Jim Small, the deputy CEO of MBL, said, they are “seeing these kids falling in love with baseball” and they will be “people who will influence baseball in the years ahead."
Moreover, expectation is high that baseball will return to 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games as Japan, the Olympic host country, is authorized with more initiative on the games by the International Olympic Committee, giving a boost to the development of Chinese baseball. It is believed that if baseball was concluded as an Olympic game once again, it would persuade the policymakers in China to invest more in youth training and grassroots baseball, which would in turn boost the promotion of baseball.
In conclusion, Chinese baseball, with the empowerment from campus baseball and sports reform, is opening up a new dimension. And the MLB’s efforts to broaden baseball appeal in China appear to have an impact on the progress of Chinese baseball.
Source: People's Daily