New Baseball Tournament Seeks to Spread Love of the Game

1

Announcing the inaugural Asian Adult Amateur Baseball Classic Wednesday at the Far East Cafe were, from left, Richard Lee, Mike Gin, Kevin Park and Akira Sato. The event kicks off next weekend at San Marino High School. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)

 

By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS
Rafu Sports Editor

Like a great many American kids, Mike Gin grew up playing baseball in the back yard, local parks and at school. Something was missing, though, and it took him a while to figure out what.

“There were not a lot of Asians that I could see playing baseball,” Gin said Wednesday at the Far East Cafe in Little Tokyo, during the announcement of the inaugural Asian Adult Amateur Baseball Classic.

The friendly exhibition tournament, which will feature four teams of some of the best local Asian and Asian American players, takes place Oct. 29-30 and Nov. 5-6.

“We would like to get more Asians and Asian Americans involved in baseball, and hopefully, this tournament will do that,” Gin explained.

He noted the case of San Marino High School–where the tournament is being held–in a city that is slightly more than 50 percent Asian, yet only four players in the school baseball program are of Asian descent.

“We feel there should be more Asian Americans involved in baseball, especially in a city like San Marino,” he added.

The idea for the AAABC came up when Gin organized a friendly game in July, along with Akira Sato, the president of the Southern California Japanese Baseball League.

“I’ve been playing in the Japanese league, so I’ve been exposed to a different style of play, and that’s how I met with Akira,” he said.
Soon afterward, Gin contacted Richard Lee of the Teadogs, whose players mostly have ties to Taiwan, and Kevin Park of the Los Angeles Korean American Baseball League to float the idea of a tournament.

“We are all big baseball fans and we play in some local leagues, so this kind of competition makes sense,” Lee said.

The tournament’s mission statement expresses goals including “build bridges of understanding among different ethnic Asians through the great American pastime of baseball” and that it will strive to “promote brotherhood, respect and celebrate achievements through spirited competition between the baselines.”

Gin also cited U.S. Census data that lists some 15.5 million Asians in the nation, with a third of those residing in California. Yet in the major leagues, only 2.1 percent of the players on current rosters are of Asian heritage. He hopes that the AAABC will lead to efforts such as MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program, which has sought to expose more youngsters, mostly of minority backgrounds, to the game.

Nearly 80 players will take part on four teams–Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the USA–in the round-robin style tournament. Each team will play once against the other three, with the top two playing for the championship and the others playing a consolation match on the final day. Participants age 21 or over with distinct ties to the country team that they represent.

Admission to the games is free. For more information, visit http://www.leaguelineup.com/aaabc or call (213) 226-8728.

Share.

1 Comment

  1. Isn’t it obvious that the JA/Asian community places too much emphasis on basketball? As a 50+ sports player, our generation grew up well-rounded and versatile in all sports and activities. Today’s parents are single-minded on only one game. There is no self-worth other than playing basketball. I know the sport plays a significant role in our community, but look at what you’re doing to the kids. Too many have damaged legs or injuries that will never allow them to fully enjoy sports later in their lives. To play as recreational is fine, but too many parents are too competitive and for what reason? None will ever make it to any professional level of play, unless you inject the kids with growth hormones and change their skin pigmentation. Other than Yao Ming, no other APA player is of any value in the NBA. Better to spend your money to better your kid’s future/education. Or better yet, spend it playing a sport together instead of being a spectator—like golf or something.

Leave A Reply