BASN Classic Blackbox: Major Leagues American Baseball Imperialism

Updated: October 29, 2008



African Americans are not alone

in being victimized by


wearing Baseball garb

so are the Japanese

and Latinos and

who’s next

There is a classic pattern to Imperialism powerful “states” taking advantage of lesser states. It is a reoccurring theme throughout human history. May always be. Today you don’t have to go to the Middle East to find examples of American imperialist tendencies. In fact to an extend blunt brutal use of force is now a minor weapon in the arsenal of Imperialist Societies. Maybe always has been.

What motivates today’s

‘philosophical’ Black Box

Is the overwhelming Baseball story of the Moment.

The Boston Red Sox new hire for $ 52 Million.

Actually nothing different happened than has happened so many times before. Except we will refer to it as a Tipping Point. Where we finally see the Truth.

His name is Daisuke Matsuzaka. It is universally agreed he is the best pitcher in Japan. Correction.

WAS until this week. Matsuzaka will likely never play another game in Japan unless he travels there is an MLB uniform even though he can’t speak a word of English. Who cares. He plays Baseball. He isn’t a Comedian.

And there in lies our story.

Dozens of the best Japanese players over the last few decades have come to play one after another in America. Again nothing new here. Except it has now become crystal clear that MLB is devastating Japanese baseball. You probably did not know game attendance and fan interest in Japan is declining precipitously.

There is still plenty of baseball and baseball players left in Japan but all their best those who provide the Sizzle reach that point and are quickly grabbed by MLB teams. Japanese pro baseball has become the Major League’s “super minor league” system. And as baseball declines locally there team owners are that much more inclined to sell their best players to American teams and make Big Bucks doing so. In this case it is the Seibu Lions of Japan who will get as much from the Red Sox as Daisuke Matsuzaka himself. The team owners will pocket over $ 51 Million from the Boston Red Sox for the the rights to sign Daisuke Matsuzaka.

It is a good deal all around

except for Japanese culture

In a similar way the same has been happening to Latin American Baseball in its own guise. Latin American countries do not have any thriving economies like Japan but it still amounts to the same result American Baseball Imperialism. Yes the individual players chosen by MLB benefit mightily. More than they could ever staying home.

But at a devastating cost to national baseball back home.

That is the point sort of. Being an Imperialist power be it Ancient Rome or MLB you plunder the country you target and grab what they have which you want. In many cases brute force is impractical. Buying what you want is a more common tool.

Likewise Imperialism like everything else evolves even if “leaders” like George Bush don’t have a Clue, not to say he has not been throwing rounds bags of money millions in Benjamin Franklins in Iraq. Anyway ……

Our point is this ….

African Americans are victims of Baseball Imperialism in a very different way. First of all going back to times past the Negro Leagues were decimated by Major League Baseball once they decided talent trumped racism. As a result a vibrant aspect of African American culture was destroyed. Yes it benefited lots of Black players although far more lost their profession and their livelihood.

But then in quintessential Imperialist fashion after a number of decades Major League Baseball decided it could do better plundered beyond our borders in Latin America and Japan. The result has been a lack of interest in developing African American players in favor of “cheap” labor in Latin America and in Japan not so cheap super stars developed at NO expense whatsoever to Major League Baseball by a large number of Japanese teams.

The irony here is ……

That Major League Baseball gets another comparable probably greater benefit “plundering” foreign talent – again another Classic Imperialist characteristic – after the best players leave baseball fans in those countries are drawn to Major League Baseball broadcasts – in Spanish in Latin America in Japanese in Japan – so they can continue to follow their favorite players and also look sharp by buying MLB stuff on line to wear in their country. Of course even further detracting audience away from local Baseball at home.

And looming out there

is the biggest prize of all


with 1.3 Billion+ population

of potential Baseball talent

and MLB fans

Now China is going to take some time to become productive. Unlike Japan China does not have a rich baseball culture.

Although there has been some. More to the Point. Imperialists don’t always sweep in and conquer overnight. In earlier days the Europeans often first sent in the peace loving Missionaries to soften the local up or confuse them if you prefer. Then came the soldiers. Then the industrialists. Etc. Etc. It can be a long process.

But China is worth it.

And just as Africans Americans declined as Major League Baseball began to exploit Latin America and Japan, after Japanese baseball declines further the allure of Japanese players will give way to the fascination with talented young Chinese players. And as Baseball finally catches on in Europe Latin players will see their stock fall. But in all these countries fully acclimated to Major League Baseball the audiences will become larger than ever especially since the local “product” becomes ever more inferior. And broadcast technology better.

Are there any solutions to this Malaise

yes but we want you to keep reading

the Black Box so that’s for later

for now the Boston Red Sox

signing Daisuke Matsuzaka

the Baseball story now

proves once again

American Baseball Imperialism

is live and keeps getting Stronger

as African Americans disappear

from American Baseball

if anybody cares ?

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….