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Roger Duthie (left), President, Dubai Little League, with Kash Shaikh, Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner, Baseball United. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The grass roots level of baseball in the region will get a major boost with the new partnership signed between Baseball United, the region’s first-ever professional baseball league, and Dubai Little League (DLL), the region’s pre-eminent youth baseball organisation. The collaboration marks a significant step forward in the growth and development of baseball, enabling a top-down and bottom-up approach from the youth to the professional level.

There will also be youth clinics, player appearances, and financial support other than the pricing and special promotions for DLL members for Baseball United’s upcoming All-Stars Showcase event, a two-game series between Baseball United’s East All-Stars and West All-Stars on November 24-25 at Dubai International Stadium.

Three decades

The DLL has been serving the city for nearly three decades, with over 500 baseball and softball players spanning 27 different nationalities playing every weekend during the fall and winter seasons. In addition, DLL administers an adult baseball league with over 100 players, one of the only adult leagues in the Middle East.

“Little League Baseball is where the love for the game begins to grow for millions of kids all over the world,” said Kash Shaikh, Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner, Baseball United. “And Dubai Little League is one of the absolute best. It’s inspiring to see what Roger and his team — in partnership with so many amazing baseball-loving families in Dubai — have done to teach, promote, and grow the game. We are looking forward to working with the DLL leadership team and member families to create more learning opportunities and more memorable experiences around this game we all love.”

Making a difference

Roger Duthie, President, Dubai Little League, said: “We are very grateful to partner with Baseball United to continue our commitment to growing the game of baseball across the region

“We’ve watched closely as Kash and the team have been bringing to life their vision, and we are looking forward to helping connect the dots within the Dubai baseball ecosystem. Baseball United gives our kids a front-row seat to see what’s possible when playing the game, and it also echoes our values of community and sportsmanship. Our DLL leaders and families have put their heart and soul into building an organisation that makes a difference. It’s rewarding to see all that work recognised by an organisation that’s full of baseball legends.

Official rosters announced

Earlier, Baseball United announced the official rosters for the league’s inaugural event with 44 players — 22 on each team — to participate. “We are honoured to bring many of our best players to Dubai for our first-ever professional games,” said Kash Shaikh, Chairman, CEO, and Majority Owner, Baseball United. “Our All-Stars come from 16 different countries and have played at the highest levels of professional baseball. This is truly something the region has never seen. Our fans will get to witness history. It’s the perfect way to launch our league.”

Seventy-five per cent of Baseball United’s All-Stars have played at the Major League Baseball level, with others competing in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization and other international leagues and tournaments.

The East All-Stars are led by MLB legend, Bartolo Colon, a four-time MLB All-Star and the winningest Latin American-born pitcher in MLB history. The West All-Stars are captained by eight-time MLB All-Star second baseman, Robinson Cano.