Baseball is taking off in China

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Slowly, of course. But MLB’s China initiative, which began with Leon Xie, two assistants and one office, is starting to take off.  As Tony Dokoupil writes in Newsweek, one of the reasons for it is an unexpected but, upon reflection, quite reasonable relationship between baseball and Confucianism:

Four years later, as another Major League Baseball season is scored into existence, Xie is packaging the game as a Confucian pastime with modern relevance, a quintessentially Chinese sport …“I mean, talk about Confucianism,” says Jim Small, the director of Major League Baseball for all of Asia, and Xie’s boss, rattling off parallels between China’s ethical philosophy and the American game that inspired nickel-beer night and dugout-dancing mascots. “There’s no clock, you sacrifice yourself for the team, everything is in threes …”

I’m not gonna bet the farm that Jim Small is much of an expert in Confucianism, but I’ll at least go along with the idea that there is some Li — baseball is all about rituals and culture of a certain sort — and filial piety, broadly defined, caught up in the general baseball zeitgeist. At least if you squint a little bit.

What I won’t buy, for reasons that Dokoupil explains in the story, is China becoming a baseball power or producing major leaguers any time soon. But the game seems to be making inroads there. Given the size of the population, and the fact that Chinese athletes have become world class in just about every athletic event that country has committed to in some serious way, it’s only a matter of time before things change.

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna could “draw a significant ban” for assault allegations

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Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was arrested in Toronto back on May 8 on charges of assault against a woman and he has been on MLB’s administrative leave list ever since — that leave having been extended twice already.

Canadian authorities aren’t revealing any details about the case so as to protect the identity of the accuser and it’s unclear where MLB’s investigation into the matter stands at this point, but Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports opens his latest column with this note …

Toronto Blue Jays star closer Roberto Osuna’s domestic issue is said by people familiar with the case to be serious and involve allegations of a physical nature, which would draw a significant ban.

Heyman notes that Major League Baseball handed 15-game suspensions to Jeurys Familia and Steven Wright for domestic assault cases where there was no physical abuse — or none proven — and that Aroldis Chapman got 30 games after a police report revealed that he did get physical with the victim and also fired a gun.

It sounds like Osuna could be facing a suspension of at least 20-25 games, given the precedent. Again, though, we don’t have any actual details.

Tyler Clippard has been operating as Toronto’s primary ninth-inning man in Osuna’s absence.