You might have heard that baseball was a quintessential American sport. But with the passage of time, the baseball field has evolved into a polyglot’s playground. Many other countries have learned to love the sport.
According to the International Baseball Federation, there are over 35 million registered baseball players in 122 countries worldwide. Come to think of how popular baseball is around the world. For sure, the figure gets notches higher by now.
The Pioneering US
Baseball is considered as “America’s Pastime” for being the most favorite sport played in the country. Though it popularity in the US is downplayed, no one can stop a lot of American spectators showing their support for the sport. There are two major leagues in the US, which also have amassed millions of followers around the world. There are a total of 30 teams now playing in the American League (AL) and National League (NL), with 15 teams in each league.
The Unprecedented Asian Invasion
What used to be a quintessential American sport has become one of the world’s most loved sports. The Asians don’t want to be left behind. They have shown so much passion for the sport. The establishment of the Baseball Federation of Asia helped promote baseball among Asian countries. It was only during the 2nd Asian Games held in Manila, Philippines, when organizers agreed to establish the Baseball Federation of Asia (BFA). May 7 of that year marks the birth of BFA, which is very instrumental in the popularity achieved by the sport in the whole Asian region. According to the WSBC Baseball World Rankings for 2017, three Asian countries land in the top 5 with Japan taking the top spot. South Korea ranks third while Chinese Taipei ranks fourth.
South and Central American Baseball Fascination
South and Central America’s love for the sport is as evident and intense as that of the Americans. The region boasts of several top-notch teams that regularly produces players that move on to other, bigger leagues as American MLB. As an affirmation to the sport’s popularity in these regions, there are those who play baseball in the streets and in the school yards. There are also professional leagues in these regions professional leagues aside from thousands of amateur teams on corporate and school levels across Latin America. Take note. The Dominican Republic comes next to US in the number of players sent to the major leagues.
Rising Popularity of Baseball in Europe
The Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) is the official baseball governing body within Europe. The confederation is responsible for operating the European Baseball Championship, a championship that has been running since 1954 in Europe. CEB was founded in 1953, with five member countries namely: Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy and Spain. today, there are 38 member teams. Baseball has seen an has registered a significant increase in terms of popularity in Europe.
Countries from all over the world has made baseball as one of the most popular sports. There are myriads of reasons why baseball has achieved worldwide popularity. More than the benefits that baseball can offer, it is the passion for the sport that has kept the popularity growing. The experiences behind baseballs and the baseball bats played in the diamond is the ultimate reason….Just for now.