Dennis Cook of the New York Mets throws a pitch during the game against the San Francisco Giants on May 12, 2001 in San Francisco, Califirnia. Cook has been named the manager of Baseball United’s Abu dhabi Falcons (Photo Credit: Jeff Gross /Allsport/ Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Baseball United announced on Monday that former Major League Baseball pitcher and World Series Champion Dennis Cook will be the manager for the Abu Dhabi Falcons for the upcoming showcase in Dubai next month.
Former MLB player and World Series Champion Nick Swisher will replace Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera as the honorary general manager for the Abu Dhabi Falcons franchise.
“Dennis is an amazing addition to our Baseball United team,” said Kash Shaikh, CEO, Chairman, and Majority Owner of Baseball United in a statement on the league’s website.
“He’s a proven winner, with meaningful contributions to a lot of winning ball clubs for a decade and a half during his MLB career,” Shaikh said. “He’s stayed wired into the game at the amateur, professional, and international levels. You can feel his passion in every conversation, and he will be an amazing ambassador for the game here in the United Arab Emirates. I can’t wait to see him on the field leading the Falcons.”
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.
All Baseball United Dubai Showcase games will be played at Dubai International Stadium.
Only two games will be played on Saturday, November 11.
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.
“If we can inspire even a small fraction of that viewership, it will be an incredible stage for baseball in the region. And from an attendance standpoint, we are looking forward to welcoming baseball fans from all walks of life – and from dozens of different countries – to enjoy this classic showdown” said Shaikh.
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.
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.
The Baseball United Draft was supposed to be held last month in Cincinnati and will be moved to Dubai during the next few weeks prior to the start of the showcase.
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 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 developing players from the countries where the league places franchises.
According to the Baseball United website, the league is “working hard to bring baseball, music, and entertainment together in a fun, family-friendly environment. There will be a price point for everyone, with great seats available across the transformed ‘ballpark.’ And everyone who attends will become a part of history, as we bring professional baseball here to the Middle East and South Asia for the first time. Tickets will go on sale soon, and I really encourage all baseball and sports fans to join us for a great experience.”
Baseball United will have a fan fest event that will be free to the public outside Dubai International Stadium. They also plan on having opening and closing ceremonies with details to be announced in the upcoming weeks.
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
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