Global Baseball

One man\’s year-long journey through the world of baseball


I’m currently working on a year-long research project on the globalization of baseball, courtesy of the Thomas J. Watson Foundation. Over the next 12 months, my project will take me to the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Australia, Puerto Rico, Okinawa, and Venezuela, and I decided to set up this blog to share some of the things I pick up along the way.



  1. Do you have any updateds on Fernando Martinez of the Mets age/roids rumors? or player like him?

    Comment by Mack Roberts | February 10, 2007

  2. Nope, and with a player like Martinez who a team’s heavily invested in, there will likely never be any official confirmation even if there is something going on with him. It’s best to let it die and gauge his performance as it comes. There’s no real oversight of steroids in the Dominican, so a lot of players take them before signing, and that’s where the rumors come from. If he ever fails a drug test, that’s the time to worry about him.

    Comment by jhelfgott | February 10, 2007

  3. Hey Jonathan,

    Forgot to ask you when we spoke if you were going to be able to do minor league stuff for the Salami while you’re still out of the country. Let me know – I’m at spring training now and deadline for first issue would be March 15th.

    thanks, Jon

    Comment by Jon Wells | March 4, 2007

  4. Dear jhelfgott, I became hooked by international baseball durng the WBC and was just beginning to look into to starting my own world baseball blog, until I saw yours this morning. Wow! I am very interested in your project and fascinated by your blog. It’s extremely fun reading and very informative. Please contact me if you would be interested in seeing some writing samples, including some from the 2006 WBC but otherwise almostt entirely MLB slanted babble.

    Comment by rick kaplan | April 23, 2007

  5. Mr. Bjarkman,

    I’m a school teacher and head baseball coach at Olympic Heights high school in Boca Raton Florida. In 2004, I started The National High School Power Showcase Home Run Derby. It originated as a fundraising idea for my baseball program. In threes years it has grown rapidly with the first National finals being held on December 2nd, 2006,

    The event was held at the prestigious Bucky Dent Baseball School in Delray Beach, Florida, home to “Little Fenway”. We had representation from 13 States (see attached group photo) and two International Countries (Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands).

    Since we had representation from two International countries, I’ve decided to change the name to the International High school Home Run Derby.

    The 2nd Annual International High School Home Run Derby Finals will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2008, and located in the newly renovated Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Worlds Top 60 “Power Prospects” (one from each of the fifty states and one selected from ten International countries) will step center-stage and provide some jaw dropping bombs and an insightful glimpse into the future.

    Friday, January 4, 2008, is the Welcome Dinner & Uniform Presentation Ceremony.

    The welcome dinner will be held inside Tropicana Field, in a restaurant called the Batters Eye, which overlooks the field.

    Players receive their jerseys’ with their names on the back, along with the abbreviation of Texas in place of the number. (Pictures will be taken for media coverage and additional)

    The goal is to get representation from ten international countries. On your journey have you come across people who could possible help me get in touch with the right people in their country?

    I believe you’ll enjoy the website
    What’s attractive about this is you can actually click on each player’s link and download their hitting highlight clip from the finals.

    I’m extremely excited about bringing all of the countries top high school “Power Prospect to one location.

    Thanks for your help!
    Let me know that you received this e-mail.

    Office: 561-883-8368

    Cell: 561-271-7247


    Brian Domenico

    President, International High School Home Run Derby

    Comment by Brian Domenico | April 25, 2007

  6. Hi – I find your site fascinating. I have a question (maybe more – but one for now). I understand that the Dominican Republic has a long tradition of purely home-grown baseball which I think is played in the summer. How has the loss of players affected their own leagues? Also, do any non-Dominicans play in Dominican leagues? Maybe this is all becoming blurred in this global world, but I’d appreciate any of your insights or observations.


    Comment by Jane Kitchel McLaughlin | May 28, 2007

  7. Hi Jane,

    Unfortunately, the Dominican Republic does not run an independent semi-pro league during the Summer months. I say unfortunately because there is absolutely enough interest in the country to sustain such a league, and it would be nice to see some kind of infrastructure in place to give the hundreds of very talented Dominicans who were not quite good enough to make the majors an alternative. Right now, a tiny minority of Dominican ex-minor (and major) leaguers catch on in the Taiwanese, Mexican, Korean, and Japanese professional leagues.

    The only baseball played in the DR during summer is the MLB-affiliated Dominican Summer League (which began its season on June 2). The level of baseball in the DSL is comparably low – it’s significantly better than high school ball in the United States, but way, way worse than the college or even JuCo circuit. Non-Dominicans play in the DSL – most often for the teams that do not have affiliates in the Venezuelan Summer League.

    In the Winter, professional baseball returns to the DR, and some prominent stars like Miguel Tejada insist on playing winter ball as part of their contracts with major league teams. It’s not a substitute for a high-end league, and a lot of Dominicans complain that the best players don’t take the DWL seriously, since it’s their off-season, but it’s a pretty high level of baseball. Foreigners (usually top American minor league prospects) play in the DWL as a way to make extra money and work on things in the off-season.

    Comment by jhelfgott | June 4, 2007

  8. Baseball & science

    The Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology organizes international multidisciplinary conference. We are an organization started by alumni of the Fulbright program and others interested in international collaborations (such as Watson Fellows).

    The next one will in Boston on February 14-17, 2008. As part of our conference, we would like to include a special program realating to baseball, including a tour of Fenway Park. We are looking for Fulbright scholars and others who want to talk about baseball – not as entertainment, but rather explore the statistics, the physics, the technology advances, etc.

    Please contact me at 207-799-3098

    Eric Howard

    Comment by Eric Howard | June 22, 2007

  9. Hey Jonathan, I was wondering if you’d be willing to drop me an e-mail at this e-mail address?


    Comment by studes | June 29, 2007

  10. Hello,

    I am a volunteer in the US Peace Corps developing baseball in the Republic of Moldova. We are working on the Baseball Moldova Project and are looking for support in equipment, media, donations, and sponsorships. We have had great support from the US (Rawlings, Baseball Free For All Foundation, and Perfect Game USA), but European sponsorships/partnerships have been harder to come by. Do you have contacts that would be interested in helping our cause to get baseball up and running (for free) in Moldova? please check out our website at We are also currently designing what will be Moldova’s first baseball stadium which will be built in Balti. Do you have specific blueprints/plans that could help us?

    Jerry Martin

    Comment by Jerry Martin | July 8, 2007


    Reporter Zach Stauffer brings us the story of baseball dreams in the West African nation of Ghana. The video is up now on the FRONTLINE/World website.

    Check out the video, as well as background on Ghana, here, on FRONTLINE/World’s website:

    “Coverage of Africa is often limited to famine, war and the latest smiling Hollywood celebrity to make a visit,” said Stauffer. “But as I discovered, not everything that happens on the continent is about unrest – some people in Ghana and other African countries like a good ball game too.”

    Please help spread the word about this video report that provides an inspiring new angle on the sport we all love, as well as a peek into a side of Ghana not often seen in the news. To interview or contact the reporter, email Zachary Stauffer at zjstauffer AT gmail dot com

    About the story:

    “I love being a barber, but it’s not what I want to do,” says Sharrif Mohammed, the captain of Ghana’s national baseball team. “I love playing baseball more than cutting hairs.”

    You can’t blame him, really, and after watching Sharrif in action on the diamond, it’s impossible not to share his baseball dreams.

    Then again, he’s trying to become a baseball star in West Africa, in a small, poor but politically stable West African country where soccer is the sport of choice. As reporter Zachary Stauffer discovers in this week’s Rough Cut, Ghana’s baseball team plays on a former garbage dump. After they cleaned it up, soccer players began to claim the turf.

    Still, adversity has not deterred Sharrif, and all he wants, he says, is a decent field, some proper equipment and a chance to compete. “The players are not demanding for money to play baseball,” he insists. “No! Just put some trophy down — let’s fight over it. That’s all.”

    Comment by Charlotte | August 2, 2007

  12. great site

    Comment by Tony | September 4, 2007

  13. Please check out this new website about European Baseball

    Comment by Tony | September 4, 2007

  14. Jonathan – Thanks for the continued plugs. I hope you are well at year’s end. You couldn’t be more correct about the sad state of the so-called Caribbean Series. By the way, are you aware that we are streaming TV feed of Cuban League games on Sundays on There is a TV feed most Sundays and also occasionla radio feds other nights. Pete Bjarkman

    Comment by Pete Bjarkman | December 27, 2007

  15. […] Get more information about this from the author here […]

    Pingback by Boxing » About Global Baseball | March 11, 2008

  16. I am a Mariners fan from Tokyo, Japan.
    I really liked your blog with the Mariners mentioned item. I am a big fan of Ichiro Suzuki.
    I try to follow as much MLB news as I can with the internet.

    Comment by Ichiro Suzuki Autographed Jersey Owner | March 27, 2009

  17. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your website using a google search and was wondering if you could help me with a couple things.

    I was wondering, when and where the below 4 players will ever appear in the United States.

    1. Kai Liu
    2. Zhenwang Zhang
    3. Wei Wang
    4. Yu Bingjia

    Or were these signing just publicity stunts by the Yankees and Mariners done to create good will overseas and generate hype.

    Please let me know.


    Comment by Ryan Huff | September 28, 2009

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