'It will help baseball rise in India': MLB Cup 2021 gives hopes to coaches
- The tournament is designed to inculcate interest in baseball in children at a young age, which may give rise to the sport in the country.
Major League Baseball kicked off their first-ever MLB Cup 2021 in India, a youth tournament for children of age group 9-11. A total of 12 teams from across the country came to participate in the competition.
Rick Dell, General Manager for Baseball Development in Asia, and Dinesh Patel, the first Indian-born athlete to sign with an MLB team, The Pittsburgh Pirates, were also in attendance.
The tournament, as described by Dell, is designed to inculcate interest in baseball in children at a young age, which may give rise to the sport in the country.
"On our MLB development pyramid, on the bottom is the grassroots launch. That is what our first pitch programs do when we go to schools here in India. The next segment of the period is MLB Cup - it's called retention to play the game. The very purpose of that is to create Elite talents. MLB Cup 2021 creates playing opportunities and we hope, over a long period of time, it would lead to elite development," he said in an official release.
Dinesh Patel, who spent his time sharing tips with the kids at the field, said he felt great to see an atmosphere of baseball being created by the MLB Cup in India. "It is so nice to see all these young kids playing baseball. These initiatives can give a real boost to the sport in the country, and maybe, one day, India can also become a major power in this sport," he said.
Vinita Tiwari, coach of Indore Red Sox, one of the teams participating in the tournament, explained why baseball is a sport for everyone. "Baseball is a team sport. Everyone plays cricket, football, but this is different from all the other sports. One can learn multiple mental applications if they play baseball, which can be useful in everyday lives."
Vinita, who is the only women's coach in the entire tournament, further added that India may also see rising participation from women athletes in baseball if MLB Cup happens on a regular basis in the country. "With there being no men's team in baseball, India can also work towards investing in creating a women's baseball team in India," she said.
10-year-old Daksh, who plays for a Telangana school team, also said that MLB Cup developed further interest in baseball within him.
"We came here and saw that the script is completely different. There are stricter rules in actual baseball that we did not know before. It helped us adapt our game quickly and made the sport more fun for me. Playing in the MLB Cup, I feel I can even go one day to play for one of the teams in the USA," he said.