The Far East Baseball Exchange is an exchange program whose mission is to bridge ties between Asia and the United States through baseball. Founded by Mike Gin and J. Morey Company Vice President of Regional Operations, Joshua Morey, the program gives youth from the U.S. and Asia the opportunity to play against each other on the field while learning about each other’s cultures.
I spoke to Mike Gin about his involvement with the program and their vision for the Far East Baseball Exchange.
How did the Far East Baseball Exchange get started?
Josh and I are both big baseball fans and love to play. Josh played in Japan and one of the contacts he made became the coach of a Japanese college team. He wanted to bring his college team to Los Angeles to play and give his players the American baseball experience. Josh approached me about getting a trip together and I helped to make the arrangements.
The first exchange we was when Japan’s Rissho University sent 50 players to the U.S. for a 7 day trip in 2011, which was their school’s 100th year anniversary. We organized several games for them including a game against the MLB youth academy all-star team. They visited USC as well as Dodger Stadium, where they watched a game and had the opportunity to go on the field. In addition, we made a stop at the Japanese American National Museum so they could learn about Japanese American history.
Have you other exchanges happened since Rissho University players first came to the U.S.?
Rissho returned in 2013 and are planning on coming back in 2014.
This year, we also hosted our first team from South Korea. Yatap High School is the first known Korean high school team to visit the U.S. to play baseball. They came in January to train for 40 days in the U.S. We arranged 15 baseball games against top high schools in Southern California. They really enjoyed their experience and there is talk of them coming back.
What is your vision for this organization?
One of our goals is to take an American team to Asia, which is currently still in the planning stages. Sometime in the next year, we hope to take a team to Asia to have the opportunity to explore Asian culture and learn about the Asian style of baseball.
Our objective is to expose Asian culture to American players and vice versa. We think baseball is a great game and a great way to learn from each other.
What is the favorite part of your involvement?
I love the game of baseball and for me, it’s seeing the players and students interact. It’s an awesome sight. It’s a very unique opportunity to play someone from another country who plays with a different style of play. During one of last year’s games, I saw some of the guys in the batting cages trying to teach each other their own style, not through words but through interaction. It makes us feel good that we’re a part of this opportunity and can share this memorable experience with them.
Source: The Far East Baseball Exchange