MLB putting together plans for games in China
The games would be played during the second week of March, two baseball officials familiar with the planning said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the trip was still in the planning stages.
"It does put a little inconvenience into spring training, but the experience far outweighs that. I think it's a valuable experience and could be good for baseball," Dodgers player representative Mark Hendrickson said.
Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, has pushed for the games, which would be played at the ballpark built for next year's Olympics in Beijing.
"I asked our players' union, and we're one of four or five teams they're considering. Nothing's been finalized," Mariners player rep Willie Bloomquist said. "If it happens, great, a new experience. If not, nothing lost. The biggest issue is the travel there and back, with all the traveling we already do."
Major League Baseball has twice opened the regular season in Tokyo, with the New York Mets meeting the Chicago Cubs in 2000 and the New York Yankees playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2004. The Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics may open next season at the Tokyo Dome.
Hendrickson was with the Devil Rays on the 2004 Tokyo trip.
"Japan was exciting to go over there for the five days," he said. "It's fun to go over to a different culture. A lot of players don't necessarily get to the opportunity to go to a different culture, especially that far away. If you ask guys, 'How many times are you going to get to go to China?' they'd probably say, first choice, that's not where I'm going to vacation. If you get the opportunity to go over there and play baseball, what better way to do it?"
The Yankees were among the team initially interested played in China but decided they would rather wait for regular-season games to be played there.
"I think it's doable," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Obviously, we wouldn't take the entire squad. I think that it's a great idea."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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