By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Baseball United will hold its first-ever draft on Tuesday, September 19, at a private event in Union Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, at 11 a.m. EDT. The event will be streamed on all Baseball United social media pages and their website.
The four organizations will each draft 16 players and can add four international prospect signings prior to the start of the Baseball United showcase event in November.
The Mumbai Cobras will have the first overall pick in the draft. The Karachi Monarchs, the first professional baseball team in Pakistan, will receive the second overall pick. The Dubai Wolves will have the third overall pick, followed by the Abu Dhabi Falcons with the fourth overall pick.
The Baseball United draft will consist of eight rounds with eight players selected within each round. Each of the four franchises will make two selections per round. All the players selected will have professional baseball experience, including in Major League Baseball.
The league will stock the teams with players from international professional leagues, players with experience in the lower minor leagues in the U.S., and independent league players, as well as potentially developing players from the countries where the league places franchises.
“There are so many aspects of our league that we are excited about, but the expanded opportunities for players may be at the top of the list,” Kash Shaikh, Baseball United, Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner stated on the league’s website. “Our draft represents the first step to providing a means for professional players to extend, expand, and evolve their careers.
Cincinnati is the birthplace of professional baseball in the United States, fielding the first team of professional players in 1869. The Baseball United draft marks the beginning of a new league that can possibly produce a lot of exposure to the sport on the other side of the world.
Baseball United is the first professional baseball league located in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. Baseball United will have its first event, the Dubai Showcase, from November 10-12 at Dubai International Stadium, which is mainly used for cricket.
The 64 selected players in the Baseball United Draft will team with a group of 16 prospects from India, Pakistan, and the Middle East to compete in the Dubai Showcase. The 16 prospects will be announced at the end of September to participate in the first Baseball United event.
The Dubai Showcase with the four teams participating in the event will have to conclude with 13 position players and seven pitchers on their active rosters.
All Baseball United Dubai Showcase games will be played at Dubai International Stadium.
On November 9, all four teams will have on-field batting practice prior to the event to get used to the playing surface.
The stated goal of Baseball United 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 Abu Dhabi Falcons and the Dubai Wolves were the final two organizations announced on August 3 at the Baseball United press conference held in Dubai. Baseball United plans to expand the league further next season.
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.
The Abu Dhabi Falcons will have Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera as their honorary general manager and former Major League pitcher Dennis Cook will be the manager for the organization.
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.
All games will be streamed on Baseball United website, Facebook and YouTube pages. Baseball United is currently in the process of reaching deals with various major tv sports network channels all over the listed regions across Asia.
Baseball United 2023 Dubai Showcase Schedule
All times are listed Eastern Standard Time
Friday November 10, 2023
11 a.m. EST – Karaichi Monarchs vs. Mumbai Cobras
Saturday November 11, 2023
6 a.m. EST – Abu Dhabi Falcons vs. Karachi Monarchs
10 a.m. EST – Mumbai Cobras vs. Dubai Wolves
Sunday November 12, 2023
10 a.m. EST – Dubai Wolves vs. Abu Dhabi Falcons