MLB on Bhutan's surging interest in baseball

I came here for the photo and left with knowledge of Bhutan’s hopes of becoming the next great baseball country:

High up in the Himalayas between Tibet and India sits the small Buddhist country of Bhutan. Sometimes known as the world’s last Shangri-La, this nation of snowy alpine peaks and untouched mountain streams has fewer than 700,000 people who call it home. And yet perhaps the most remote country in the world is on its way to being a baseballing nation, growing from a few dozen kids playing on a concrete slab after school to more than 6,000 children who are fast becoming baseball fanatics despite few having ever seen a Major League game.

“Everything from the friendship I grew with my father to my brothers to everyone in my town growing up, it was all based around baseball,” Matthew DeSantis, the co-founder and chairman of the Bhutan Baseball and Softball Association told me during a recent visit to New York. “From a community perspective in Bhutan, it was a way for me to both be involved stronger, and also to give something back that I thought the kids would love and connect over.”

Bhutan, a predominately Buddhist nation, has a population of over 750,000 and while archery (its national sport) and basketball are its most popular sports, baseball is growing in popularity with the Bhutan Baseball and Softball Association reporting that “more than 6,000 children consistently play baseball.” Let’s see where it takes them!

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