Notable former MLB players were drafted into Baseball United, the first baseball league in the Middle East and South Asia region. The Mumbai Cobras, Karachi Monarchs, Dubai Wolves, and Abu Dhabi Falcons are the four teams expected to be filled with star-studded international baseball talent. Eventually, the league is expected to expand to eight teams before its season begins in 2024.
Among the baseball players picked are former Chigaco White Sox right-hander Karan Patel, retired right-hander Bartolo Colon, second-baseman Robinson Canó, third-baseman Pablo Sandoval, shortstop Didi Gregorius, shortstop Andrelton Simmons, outfielder Steven Moya, and shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Baseball United said it will be announcing new franchises, TV licensing group partnerships, and sponsorships in the coming weeks. This is the largest effort to expand the sport in the Middle East, being the first of its kind. Once the players are fully drafted into their specific teams, a tournament will be showcased next November at Dubai International Stadium.
“Major League Baseball is over 150 years old and has so much romance and pageantry. And, you know, it’s one of the few American sports that have yet to be exported to this part of the world,” said Kash Shaikh, president and CEO of Baseball United to AP News in May.
Despite sports like cricket and soccer dominating the region, Shaik hopes that the teams “can eventually reap lucrative returns at auction,” promising to announce rules that would differ from Major League Baseball to appeal to cricket audiences.