TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Major League Baseball (MLB) should hold its All-Star Game in Taiwan to raise awareness of China's escalating threats against the country and diffuse anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S., according to American scholar Markos Kounalakis.
In an editorial run by The Hill on Wednesday (April 14), Kounalakis, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, said MLB should move its all-star game to Taiwan this summer — after pulling out from Atlanta over Georgia's controversial voting law. He said the move would not only put a focus on China's threats against Taiwan but also improve the organization's image.
Kounalakis suggested MLB stage a "high viewership" game in Taiwan to show its support for global democracy. Praising the East Asian country as a model in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, he added that "a show of solidarity with an Asian nation" would help address racial stereotyping and discrimination against Asians in the U.S.
Kounalakis noted that there are currently five Taiwanese players in the MLB and that four of 11 retired Taiwanese athletes had played for the reigning world champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers. While professional sports in most countries are affected by the pandemic, Taiwan is a great option for the MLB All-Star Game 2022, he said.
The scholar pointed out that the MLB, unlike the National Basketball Association (NBA), has no plans to expand its business in China and that it should try to explore opportunities in Asia and Latin America. During a time when Washington's "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan is being questioned, MLB would be a perfect "soft power" approach to affirm U.S. security commitments to the country, he added.