February 13, 2018

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As superstar players from around the world step up to the plate this weekend for the start of the 117th Major League Baseball (MLB) season in the United States, a far smaller league is already in full swing in Taiwan, an island falling back in love with the nearest thing it has to a national sport. [...] First introduced to Taiwan more than 100 years ago by Japanese occupiers, baseball has become so ingrained in the island’s culture that it is even depicted on the NT$500 (HK$128) note.

Assembled informally a few months ago by a handful of baseball-loving friends in Philadelphia's suburbs, predominantly Lower Merion, this self-funded team is set to embark on a goodwill sports trip to Cuba. [...] [T]hey want to be citizen-ambassadors at a time when President-elect Donald Trump has threatened to end the U.S.-Cuba rapprochement begun two years ago under President Obama, and the recent death of Fidel Castro has ratcheted up the political uncertainty in the island nation.

País de campeones, Cuba
December 26, 2015

The PD implications of a baseball goodwill mission to Cuba.

Players as pawns in political games is not always a bad thing. Major League Baseball is about to visit Cuba on a "Goodwill" tour that marks the Dec 17 meeting last year between Barack Obama and Raul Castro when the two presidents agreed to start to "normalise" the relationship between the countries.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is seeking partners to implement a new initiative with Major League Baseball which aims to improve education, support children with disabilities and counter domestic violence in the Dominican Republic.

"I've got a near-torn Achilles," Henry Kissinger said outside the door of his apartment building. "Like Kobe Bryant," said Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, as she helped him into the van. "Who?" he asked as he settled into the seat for the ride to Yankee Stadium.

While successful people-to-people diplomacy always requires hard work and creativity, a little star power never hurts.  So when recently-retired Major League Baseball great Ken Griffey, Jr. joined 2004 Olympic softball gold medalist Natasha Watley to serve as State Department sports envoys for “Diamond Diplomacy” activities in Mexico City from February 28 to March 4, the program was destined to sparkle.