Baseball United All-Stars East Team Tops West 3-2 In First Game of Dubai Showcase

Bartolo Colon of the United East All-Stars pitches against United West All-Stars during the Baseball United Showcase between West All-Stars v East All-Stars at Dubai International Stadium on November 24, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images for Baseball United)

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The first professional baseball game for Baseball United in Dubai was held on Friday night at Dubai International Stadium as the BU All-Stars East team beat the BU All-Stars West 3-2. 

Former Major League Baseball veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon started on the mound for the Baseball United East All-Stars team. Major league journeyman pitcher Jair Jurrjens started for the Baseball United West All-Star team. 

BU All-Stars East designated hitter Courtney Hawkins recorded the first hit in Baseball United with a single off Jurrjens in the bottom of the first inning.  

In the top of the second, BU All-Stars West first baseman Steven Moya recorded the first extra-base hit when he roped a double into the right-center field gap off Colon. 

The next batter, BU All-Stars West catcher Willians Rosario, drove a sacrifice fly to right field and Moya came in to score the first run in league history and the BU All-Stars West squad took a 1-0. 

A few batters later,  BU All-Stars West left fielder Denis Phipps poked a double between BU All-Stars East second baseman Shed Long and right fielder Dillion Thomas with two outs, and Long let the baseball hit his foot, allowing it to get by him and Thomas and trickle away down the right field line. Williams came in to score from first base to make it 2-0.

Colon threw 53 pitches through three innings, allowing two earned runs, three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. 

Jurrjens threw four innings with 69 pitches, allowing no earned runs, four hits, striking out four and walking one. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the BU All-Stars East team scored their first run of the game when relief pitcher Akshay More threw a wild pitch past catcher Carlos Garzon, and Wahid came in to score to cut the lead to one run at 2-1. 

Wahid, who goes by a mononym, replaced shortstop Andrelton Simmons for one at-bat during Friday’s game, and Simmons came back out to the field in the next half inning. 

A few batters later, BU All-Stars East tied the game up at two when third baseman Pablo Sandoval roped an RBI single to right center field, scoring center fielder Jacob Robson. 

During the bottom of the sixth inning, Simmons helped the BU All-Stars East take the lead with an RBI single to right field, scoring Dylan Thomas to go up 3-2. 

BU All-Stars East relief pitcher Brian Schlitter entered the top of the ninth inning looking to shut the door with the tying run 90 feet away, and got pinch hitter Christiaan Beyers to ground out into a 1-2-3 double play for the final out of the game. Fireworks were launched in celebration of the first professional baseball game in the city of Dubai after the final out. 

There were 14 hits allowed combined by both pitching staffs on Friday. 

Baseball United will have a full season for 2024-25, including playoffs in January 2025. Four more teams are expected to be announced for next season. 

The Abu Dhabi Falcons and the Dubai Wolves were the most recent two organizations announced on August 3 at a Baseball United press conference in Dubai.

The Dubai Wolves will have former Major Leaguer Felix Hernandez as their honorary general manager and former Major League manager John McClaren will be at the helm during the league’s first season. 

Former Major Leaguer Chris Sabo will manage the Mumbai Cobras, and Miguel Tejada will manage the Karachi Monarchs in the league’s first season. Former Major Leaguer Adrian Beltre will be the honorary general manager for the Karachi Monarchs and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin will be the honorary general manager for the Mumbai Cobras.

Former MLB player and World Series Champion Nick Swisher will serve as the honorary general manager for the Abu Dhabi Falcons franchise and Dennis Cook will be the manager for the organization. 

Dr. Tayeb Kamali was the Baseball United guest of honor and threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Friday night. 

Pakistan cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar was also named a global ambassador for Baseball United. 

United Arab Emirates music artist Ahmed Alhosani sang the UAE national anthem prior to the start of the first BU Event. Cincinnati native Julia Cole sang the United States National Anthem before the start of the first professional baseball game in Dubai. 

The BU All-Stars East team is managed by Dennis Cook and the BU All-Stars West team has John McClaren at the helm. 

Baseball United’s goal is to grow the sport to two billion people across India, Pakistan, and the Middle East, an area with nearly one billion cricket fans. Baseball United hopes to have franchises in South Asia in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives.

Baseball United’s franchises will also be located in Gulf Cooperation Council member nations and south Asia. The GCC countries include the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The franchise locations will be announced in the league’s foreseeable future along with hiring major staff officials that will be part of the league’s  success.

The second All-Stars game will be played at Dubai International Stadium and will be streamed on November 25 on the league’s website at 10 a.m. EST.

NOTEBOOK: A unique rule in Baseball United is the gold ball that will only be used at the beginning of the ninth inning. If there is a home run hit with the gold ball, the team hitting the homer gets double the amount of the runs that they already drove in from the present score. A Home Run Derby is used instead of extra innings if the game is tied after nine innings of play. 

… Former Major League Baseball players and co-owners of Baseball United including Albert Pujols, Nick Swisher, Felix Hernandez, Robinson Chirinos, Adrian Beltre, Barry Larkin, Robinson Cano, Bartolo Colon and Elvis Andrus were introduced during the pregame ceremonies. 

Kash Shaikh, Chairman, CEO and Majority Owner of Baseball United addressed the fans and BU players and staff about the development of the new league. “No matter what happens, we got to this point and all of us have united together and have made history,” Shaikh said to everyone in attendance. 

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