Former star players from the New York Yankees, New York Mets, and San Francisco Giants apparently have been drafted to several teams in Dubai’s new professional baseball league.
Over the last few years, several nations in the Middle East have started to have a major influence on the sports world. Saudi Arabia — via their billion-dollar public investment fund — has purchased stakes in popular Europen soccer clubs, an MMA league, and used their wealth to force the PGA into a merger with their LIV Golf league.
The Saudis have also signed some of the most famous soccer players in the world to compete in the Saudi Pro League.
However, not to be outdone, Qatar hosted the 2022 World Cup, and Abu Dhabi has become a hub for high-level combat sports and has been the home for many UFC events including last week’s UFC 294.
Now it seems like Dubai would like to get in on the action when it comes to popular Western sports. On Monday, the Dubai-based Baseball United league had its first-ever draft, and several players that will be familiar to New York baseball fans were selected for the four-team league.
New York Yankees great Robinson Cano drafted into Dubai’s Baseball United league
In the first round, the Wolves selected former New York Yankees stars Robinson Cano and Didi Gregorius. While the Falcons drafted two-time All-Star and San Francisco Giants great Pablo Sandoval. In the third round, the Monarchs made a notable addition when they selected New York Mets fan favorite and 2005 Cy Young award winner Bartolo Colon.
Baseball United is hoping to make America’s pastime the next popular stick and ball sport for a region that already loves Cricket. The league is hoping to create new baseball fans and maybe draw the attention of existing ones with the help of MLB greats like Mariano Rivera, Adrian Beltre, and Felix Hernandez, who serve as members of their executive team.
The league is set to have a pair of East vs. West games on November 24 and 25, however, the start date for their inaugural season is unclear at this time, or if the players drafted are assured to compete for the BU in the future.