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This is great stuff (hat tip: Craig Calcaterra). For years, I haven’t been able to understand why MLB and the individual teams aren’t investing in Brazil.

All South American and Caribbean countries play soccer; Brazil is consistently the best of these countries. Obviously, there are great athletes there, some of the best in the world. And yet, very few of them are playing baseball. According to the article linked above, “there are a dozen Brazilians in the Minor League systems of Major League Baseball. No Brazilian has ever made it to the Major Leagues.”

MLB teams have already made personnel-based investments in China and India; I’m not sure why these countries came first, except that they are a bit more chic in the business world. From a talent point of view, it’s tough to argue that Brazil isn’t the world’s greatest untapped source.

More from the MLB.com article:

“It’s [a project] that is obviously a long-term initiative,” said Andrew Friedman, the Rays’ executive vice president of baseball operations. “We don’t think it’s something that’s going to pay dividends in a year from now, necessarily.”

Friedman said Rays special assistant to baseball operations Andres Reiner has worked hard on this project for the past year and that based on the number of athletes in the area — most of whom have not focused on baseball in the past — the project could turn out to be special if the Rays can improve the popularity of baseball.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

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  1. on December 6th at 09:12 am
    ExpatBrazil said:

    The vast majority of people who play baseball in Brazil are foreigners or Brazilian-Japanese. It is a one-sport country when we speak of group sports and that sport is soccer (futbol). Any program that attempts to bring baseball to Brazil will mostly likely fail. But then, they stick with it long enough and throw enough money at the effort, it might take hold. Gringos just don’t understand how futbol dominates sports in this country. Much more like American football in Oklahoma.


  2. on December 6th at 02:05 pm
    Shawn said:


    I think you sort of hit it on the head. It’s not easy to integrate a new sport into a culture. USA soccer still hasn’t been able to take off, even after years and years of effort.

    But here’s the key thing. There’s much more of an incentive for an American kid to play baseball than soccer, because the money in baseball is so much bigger. The same, I think, goes on in Brazil, just the other way around. Brazilian kids see the money and fame in soccer. If they play baseball, they may never be discovered.

    Now that’s going to change. There will be an immediate financial incentive to play baseball. That makes a huge difference. Do you agree?

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