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A Truly World Series


Venezuela’s Miguel Cabrera, star third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, is one of 25 foreign-born players taking part in baseball’s 2012 World Series.

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America,” the French philosopher Jacques Barzun once observed, “had better learn baseball.”

“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America,” the French philosopher Jacques Barzun once observed, “had better learn baseball.”



Played at many levels, from back lots to school yards to cozy college ballparks to multi-million dollar domed stadiums, the game is seen to embody many of the values our nation embraces: team work, individual initiative, social mobility and democracy. Its traditions also have their appeal, and the rules and rhythms of the game played by our fathers and grandfathers still largely apply to the one played today by our sons and daughters.

With the start of the 2012 World Series this week, baseball’s international appeal is also on display. Pitting the San Francisco Giants against the Detroit Tigers for the championship of the Major Leagues, the sport’s highest level, more than two dozen players on the two teams are foreign born. Stars on both hail from Venezuela, many others come from Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic is heavily represented. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who led his team to the championship in 2010, was born in France. And while American born, Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong like others spent years perfecting his game playing for teams in Japan.

Moreover, such diversity is not unique. Two hundred forty players representing 15 nations and territories were carried on Major League rosters this year. Given the game’s wild popularity in Latin America, most of them come from baseball hot beds such as Venezuela, the Dominican, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Others, however, are from as far afield as Japan, Canada, Taiwan, Australia and even Italy.

As all eyes turn to the games playing out in San Francisco and Detroit this week, though not on the scale of soccer’s World Cup, America’s baseball championship can truly be said to be a World Series.
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