The Texas AirHogs, a member of the South Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, are involved in an unprecedented player’s development program. During every game of the 2018 season, they will have on their roster 13 players of the Chinese National Team.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari was in attendance at the Airhog’s home opener.
“While 13 players will be on the roster every night, a younger group will work out in the morning. A total of 30 players is involved, together with coaches of the Chinese National Team,” said AirHogs manager John Mc Laren, a former MLB coach, who led the Chinese National Team in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics.
The project is backed by the Chinese Ministry of Sport, the National Olympic Committee, the Chinese Baseball Federation and received a fundamental support from Shougang Sports, a branch of Shougang Group, one of China’s largest steel companies.
The AirHogs lost. 7-5, the season Opening Game against the Fargo-Moorhead Red Hawks.
Fraccari was introduced to the project by the Chinese Federation during a visit in Nanjing and Wuxi in May 2017. While in Texas, he received an update on the project by Yingchuan Li, Vice-Minister of General Administration of Sport of China (Sports Minister) and Vice-President of the Chinese Olympic Committee
China is one of the fastest developing countries in baseball, and the nation will participate in the WBSC U-15 Baseball World Cup this August in Panama.
Baseball in China has programs at 80 different colleges and the 7 teams in the professional China Baseball League.
In the last 2 decades a total of 40 new baseball facilities have been built.