7 Images

Baseball reaches China

Students from Fendtai Elementary school in South West Beijing participate in Play Ball, a program set up to teach Chinese youth baseball. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)
The program is part of an ambitious MLB Major League Baseball plan to expose 100,000 elementary school students in five cities to a sport that many Chinese find complicated and equipment-laden, in a nation where balls are more often kicked or bounced than whacked with a bat. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)
Despite its success in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, baseball faces an uphill battle in this market country of 1.3 billion, many of whom are increasingly affluent consumers. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)
Though some estimates place the Chinese sports market at around $10billion a year, a fraction of America’s $300billion, that’s tripled over the last decade and is expected to continue growing rapidly. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)
Baseball faces huge challenges in China, including some shared by other sports. Perhaps most fundamentally, there are relatively few soccer fields, and almost no baseball diamonds. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)
Major League Baseball is hosting its first games ever in China this weekend (3/15, 3/16), between the Dodgers and the Padres. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)
Youngsters from Fendtai Elementary school in South West Beijing field ground balls during practice at the Play Ball set up to teach chinese youth Baseball. (Chris Hyde / For the Times)