America’s Favorite Pastime, Part 1 of 3: Immigration in Baseball – How Far Have We Come?

 

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The spring is upon us, and that means it’s time for baseball. Or, for Spanish speakers, beisbol. If you hail from Japan, it’s yakyū. Chinese-speaking players say bàngqiú, while Koreans call it yagu.  No matter what language they speak, though, people all over the world love baseball.

Long known as the “national pastime” in the United States, the sport’s global popularity has grown so much that Major League Baseball now features players from over 20 different countries. Even though kids all around the world love baseball just as much – or more – than many Americans, the best players still all strive to play in the top league in the United States. More than a quarter of the players in MLB now hail from foreign countries. Some of the game’s biggest stars – like the Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig and Japanese pitching aces Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka – have traveled thousands of miles to compete against the world’s best players.

However, life in the majors is not as easy as immigrant players like Puig, Darvish, and Tanaka sometimes make it look. In addition to getting used to the extreme difficulty of professional baseball in America, most foreign-born players must overcome language and cultural barriers in order to succeed.

For American fans, it’s important to remember that some of their favorite players are young men working hard to fulfill the same dream as millions of American immigrants before them.

Media

Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.

Baseball in Dominican Republic

A look back at Ichiro's career milestones

Yasiel Puig's impressive debut week

A-Gon, Puig have fun with media in two languages

Finding slope from graph
Lesson Plan

LEARNING OBJECTIVE: This lesson will teach students how to use map scales and proportional reasoning to calculate how far players from various countries have traveled to play for their Major League Baseball teams. Students will understand that proportional reasoning allows for the calculation of an unknown value based on given values.

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Lesson tags: Baseball, cross multiplication, Eighth, Featured, immigration, Maps, Math, Maths, MLB, Ninth, Proportional Reasoning, proportions, Slope from Graph, Sports

Francis Tolan

Francis Tolan Francis is a Special Education and Social Studies teacher in the Bronx, NY. He's a new father but he's not too far from being a child himself. You can find his writing about sports, pop culture, fatherhood, and general nonsense on his blog at howblank.blogspot.com.