MLB Play Ball! youth games open

May 31, 2010 | Posted by Chris

Chinese baseball is on the up and up. Via Shanghaiist

Major League Baseball's Play Ball! youth championship series kicked off at the Beijing Fengtai Sports Center this Saturday as six teams from five major Chinese cities compete for the Diamond Cup, Xinhua News reports. The clubs -- from Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuxi, and Beijing -- are products of MLB's grassroots youth baseball program Play Ball!, which was founded in 2007 and is active in the physical education programs of 120 elementary schools across China. The program seeks to expose Chinese youths to the game of baseball, educating them on the sport's rules and cultivating their talents. The league, which is based in China in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, at the MLB Baseball Development Center, wants to develop high-profile talent that will catapult the sport to new levels of popularity. "We are fostering these hopefuls with patience and expect some of them can grow into a Yao Ming of baseball," said Xie Long, the director of MLB China.

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