Major League Baseball India's business manager, Ryo Takahashi, recently spoke with Sportskeeda about MLB's strategies to promote baseball in the country. Takahashi believes that the similarity between baseball and cricket could help them break into the Indian market.
In a live chat with Shanivi Sadana on Sportskeeda's Facebook page, Ryo Takahashi discussed the steps that MLB took in India during the last few months. He mentioned that MLB conducted baseball sessions in 320 schools across the country, with Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru being their first three target cities.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a nasty impact on MLB's plans in India. Takahashi revealed how the coaches still conducted their sessions online and helped aspiring players to improve their baseball skills in the midst of the lockdown.
Ryo Takahashi feels upcoming players can use their natural cricketing skills to succeed in baseball
Major League Baseball is one of the most prestigious leagues in the world. Twenty-nine teams from the US and one team from Canada participate in the mega competition. The New York Yankees have been the most successful team, with 27 titles, while the Washington Nationals are the tournament's defending champions.
MLB opened its office in India back in 2011 and even conducted two pre-season matches in Mumbai last year. They organised the 'Million Dollar Arm' competition last year, where two out of 37,000 pitchers earned a tryout.
Ryo Takahashi pointed out that they were hiring Indian baseball coaches to develop the game in the country. When asked if cricketing skills like fast bowling or big-hitting would help MLB find talented baseballers in India, Takahashi replied:
"I have had the privilege to watch a lot of cricket during my lockdown days. There are many similarities between the two sports and the skillsets that could translate either way. Our job is to provide that platform for kids to be able to participate and develop these skills for baseball. So, they can participate and utilize the natural talent they already have to become successful in playing baseball."
Takahashi also stated that the Million Dollar Arm contest would be an annual event from now on. He signed off by saying that MLB is looking to create a platform for aspiring talents at the moment and are expecting long-term gains.Published 29 Aug 2020, 09:42 IST