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Baseball reaches China

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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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