Baseball United Announces Mumbai Cobras as First Franchise For Professional League

The Mumbai Cobras are the first Baseball United franchise to be announced.

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Baseball United announced their first franchise professional baseball organization in Mumbai on Monday.

The first franchise for Baseball United is the Mumbai Cobras. Baseball United is the first-ever professional baseball league that based in the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent.

The Mumbai Cobras will be the first professional baseball team in both India and the South Asia region. The stated goal of Baseball United is to grow the sport to the two billion people across India, Pakistan, and the Middle East, an area with nearly one billion cricket fans.

The team’s name honors “the Indian cobra,” a protected species of venomous snake in the nation of 1.4 billion people. The story behind the name is that the Indian Cobra refers to its strength, agility, and resolve, along the admiration and respect the snake is given within Hindu teachings and culture.

Baseball United President, CEO, and Co-Owner Kash Shaikh, stated on the league’s website, “This is a historic moment. For the first time in history, this cricket-loving region will now have a professional baseball franchise. And Mumbai is the ideal city to carry that distinction. It’s not only one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the world, but it’s also the commercial and entertainment capital of India. We look forward to connecting with fans across this beautiful city and working together to build India’s next great sport. It’s our honor to welcome the Mumbai Cobras to Baseball United.”

Four former major leaguers, including Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera, and Barry Larkin, as well as Adrian Beltre, and Felix Hernandez, and active Major Leaguer Elvis Andrus are included in the ownership group to bring baseball to the Middle East.

The Mumbai Cobras will be one of the three new professional baseball franchises that will compete in the Dubai Showcase in November, scheduled to be Baseball United’s first big event. Dubai International Stadium, which is mainly used for cricket, will host the Dubai Showcase.

All four of the first-year franchises, including the Cobras, will be fully owned by the league until the end of the first event.

Baseball United will begin taking bids for each franchises owner after the Dubai Showcase in November. The league’s website states that, “Mumbai is projected to be one of the most valuable franchises in the league.”

The Mumbai Indians franchise is also one of the most successful organizations in cricket’s Indian Premier League, which is currently worth $1.3 billion.

According to the league’s website, “Baseball United will name the Cobra’s manager by next week and the other three franchises will be named over the next two months.”

Baseball United began its official Player Pool selection on May 1 and will conduct its first-ever draft in the later months before the Dubai Showcase in November. 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.

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