Thursday, April 26, 2007
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In honor of David Halberstam...
Despite baseball's long literary tradition, reading about the sport never interested me... until I read David Halberstam's Summer of 49. Despite Halberstam's admitted pro-Yankee sympathies, the book was a gripping read.
In honor of his passing -- and his unique ability to move from engaging books about serious geopolitics to serious books about engaging sports -- this blog post will discuss both baseball and geopolitics.
Fidel Castro, 80, has experienced serious health problems in recent years, and his brother Raúl is Cuba’s interim president, a situation that has prompted speculation about the country’s future. Baseball officials began discussions a year and a half ago about how to approach the possibility of normalizing relations with Cuba.If you ask me, MLB should be even more aggressive in establishing cooperative baseball relations with Cuba. If ping-pong can thaw Sino-American relations, why not baseball for Cuba?
Meanwhile, it appears that the import of Daisuke Matsuzaka has increased demand for advertising for a lot of major league teams. The Boston Globe's Keith Reed explains:
If you watched the Red Sox play the Texas Rangers earlier this month and couldn't read the Japanese-language ads behind home plate, don't worry. Those were meant for fans watching overseas, not you.(hat tip to David Pinto for the link).
Finally, check out Baseball Prospectus' Jim Baker on why, in almost every way possible, baseball today is better than when you were a kid. It's pretty convincing.posted by Dan on 04.26.07 at 12:42 PM
MLB could always think about moving the Florida Marlins to Havana. They would instantly become the national team, and hardly anyone in Miami would notice.posted by: Zathras on 04.26.07 at 12:42 PM [permalink]
Not to mention the humongous Dunkin Donuts billboard in the right field bleachers that says "Welcome to Fenway" in Japanese. I find that pretty amazing considering that there isn't a single Dunkin Donuts store in Japan. Basically that billboard is aimed at people who can read Japanese, watch the Sox, have a hankering for donuts and coffee, and are within range of a DD location. That's got to be a tiny, tiny number. You could make the case that its more of a play for mindshare among Japanese people in Japan who watch the Sox and will be in the US at some point in the next few years. However, that's still a relatively small number (particularly since DD has essentially no presence on the West Coast and in Hawaii), and in any case Starbucks probably has its hooks pretty deeply embedded in them already.posted by: Incompetence Dodger on 04.26.07 at 12:42 PM [permalink]
Baker's piece isn't bad, but he left out the most important issue.
The Red Sox never won the World Series when I was a kid !
Cheers,posted by: Rofe on 04.26.07 at 12:42 PM [permalink]
I don't know about baseball being better now. I watched Denny McClain pitch his 30th victory in '68 and I think that was more fun than watching some hopped up muscle-man swat homer after homer out of the stands. But, that's just me. And yes, I am aware that Denny turned out to be a criminal in the end.posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 04.26.07 at 12:42 PM [permalink]
As as a 50 year old Phillies fan, I find Baker's article unreadable, but probably correct, damn it!posted by: Bob Rogers on 04.26.07 at 12:42 PM [permalink]
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