Next week, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will play two exhibition games in China, a historical moment for MLB, and the teams playing, to be sure.
It will be the first series of games ever played between two MLB clubs in China.
But, I was surprised to find that the Dodgers have an extensive relationship with Far East countries, and China in particular.
In 1980, the Dodgers began a relationship with the China Baseball Association to help the development of baseball in China.
Four years later in 1984, Dodger coaches were sent to Kunming, China for a two-week clinic with Chinese coaches. In the following years, the Dodgers would send many coaches to China to help the national program while continuing to host Chinese coaches in both Los Angeles and Vero Beach.
In 1986, former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley helped build the first practice field in Beijing and paid for construction of a baseball stadium in Tianjin, 75 miles southeast of the capital. Named Dodger Stadium, it still exists and is home to the Tianjin Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League founded in 2002.
In 1990, the Dodgers participated in the dedication ceremonies for the first-ever Mitsui Little League Baseball Friendship Field in Guangzhou.
In 2000, the Dodgers held one-week baseball clinics in Guangzhou.
In May 2002, Hall of Fame Manager Tommy Lasorda and Director of Asian Operations Acey Kohrogi visited Beijing as guests of honor at the Chinese Baseball League’s championship game. That following June, the Dodgers hosted the Chinese National Baseball team in its visit to Los Angeles and allowed the team to work out at Dodger Stadium.
In July 2007, an MLB and U.S. State Department sponsored delegation of baseball coaches from China, representing the China Baseball Association, visited with Tommy Lasorda at Dodger Stadium and received instruction in hitting, fielding, nutrition and team management.
This year, Dodger Owner and Chairman Frank McCourt continued the organization’s reputation for pioneering as he spearheaded the club’s efforts to take part in this first-ever Major League series in China.
The Dodgers, and MLB in general, see China as an untapped resource for the future. China, say Ni Hoa to the Dodgers and MLB.
Source: Los Angeles Dodgers