Baseball United Will Announce First Franchise Next Week, League Expected to Start in November 2023

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Baseball United, a professional baseball league that intends to operate in the Middle East and on the Indian subcontinent, will announce its first franchise on Monday.

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.

Four former major leaguers, including Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera, and Barry Larkin, as well as Adrian Beltre, and Felix Hernandez, as well as active Major Leaguer Elvis Andrus are included in the ownership group to bring baseball to the Middle East. Baseball United will announced its first four franchises this year.

In a press release on the Baseball United website, league founder Kash Shakih stated, “We are very excited to share the city and team that will be the first to carry the Baseball United banner. This announcement is a huge milestone for our league, our players, our coaches, and – most importantly – our fans. A lot of work and a great deal of planning has gone into this selection. It’s a big deal. This is history, and I can’t wait to share the news.”

All four teams announced this year will compete in Baseball United’s Dubai Showcase in November. All of the new league’s franchises will be within 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. Baseball United will also look to make its mark in South Asia, in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives.

The overview of the franchise announcement will be carried on Baseball United social media channels and their website.

Baseball United 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.

Dubai International Stadium, which is mainly used for cricket, will be the home stadium for the Dubai Showcase in November, Baseball United’s first big event. The Amateur Baseball Federation of India has also established a partnership with Baseball United which will include a relationship to develop players for tournaments put on by the World Baseball Softball Confederation to help build up the sport in India.

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