While the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians battle it out for Major League Baseball’s crown, they’re far from the only baseball teams still on the field. Despite the name of the “World Series” there are at least three other pro leagues playing for championships right now—in Asia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has details in today’s Asia Minute.
Wednesday was a big night for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. They tied the Japan series at two games apiece with the Hiroshima Carp. As with many Asian professional sports teams, the Hokkaido squad is named after a company—the food distributor Nippon Ham. The Hiroshima Carp enjoy a solid fan base—ratings showed 60% of local televisions in use one night this week were tuned to the ballgame. The opening pitch in Japanese professional baseball was tossed in 1934.
Pro baseball has a much shorter history in South Korea—starting in 1982. This weekend, the defending champion Doosan Bears will square off against the NC Dinos in the Korean Series. Doosan is an industrial conglomerate, while NC Soft is a videogame company.
Big League baseball started in Taiwan in 1989—with the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The Taiwan Series is now deadlocked at two games apiece for the EDA Rhinos and the Chinatrust Brothers---whose mascot is an elephant.
And while the World Series in the United States may stretch to November—that’s the month for opening day down under—when the Brisbane Bandits start to defend their title in the Australian Baseball League.