If you were like me, the sports enigma known as baseball is something that has always and often escaped the grasp of comprehension. Like, what are the rules in baseball? Do you just take a swing when the pitcher throws the ball at Mach-speed towards you? What if you manage to hit the ball, what then? What if you don’t?
Those are the questions about baseball that plague my mind while I’m in bed getting ready to sleep every night. I jest, of course, but the fact of the matter is that Malaysians aren’t necessarily naturally inclined to enjoy the popular Western sport of baseball.
So imagine my surprise, when doing research on this particular topic, that Malaysia — football-, badminton-, squash-loving, and sepak-takraw-creating Malaysia — has its own baseball league mirroring the world-famous one in the good ol’ USA? I certainly was.
About The Malaysian All-Star League Baseball
Specifically, the Malaysian All-Star League Baseball (MALB) is a baseball league that is open to all baseball clubs and associations in the country. As mentioned, the league’s operations and management model are a mirror of the US Major League Baseball (MLB). Along with that, it’s also one of the only sports leagues in the world that has both men and women playing side by side, or against each other.
Here’s a short history lesson.
The game of baseball was first introduced to Malaysians in the mid-1970s when several US-based corporations set up operations in the country’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Most of the plants in operation consisted of a wide range of American expatriates working for them. This group was ultimately responsible for formally introducing baseball to the locals through slow-pitch, fast-pitch, and rounder games. By the early 1980s, baseball lost most of its luster and was quickly replaced by the newly introduced softball. This game spread more rapidly compared to baseball, becoming particularly popular in the northern regions of Pulau Pinang, Kedah, and Perak, as well as the southern regions of Johor, Melaka, and Negeri Sembilan. Also not one to miss out, the eastern regions of Sabah and Sarawak, and the East Coast regions of Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang began to adopt the game.
But it was only by 2001 that an association revolving around baseball was formed — the Amateur Baseball Association of Malaysia. By 2005, the idea of creating a formal Malaysian baseball league was finally conceptualized by two Kuala Lumpur-based clubs, the All-Stars Baseball Club and the Selayang Stars Baseball Club.
This league was envisioned as a way to provide competition for serious Malaysian baseball players to compete against one another at a professional level. The inaugural MALB game was then held on 23rd February 2006 with Selayang Stars taking on the Aces of Kepong at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s field in Bangi. Today, Malaysia is home to more than 10 baseball clubs headquartered all throughout the nation.
- Aces Softball & Baseball Club, Kepong
- All-Stars, Damansara
- Cougars, Keramat
- Handoh, Seberang Perai
- KL Yankees Baseball Team, Damansara
- Lions Baseball Team, Puchong
- Nazghuls, Damansara
- Pandora, Petaling Jaya
- Patriots Baseball Club, Bangsar
- Rhynos, Keramat
- Ronins Baseball Team, Kota Damansara
- Stars Baseball Club, Selayang
- Tigers, Bangsar
- Vipers, Seberang Perai
- 9innings, Mont Kiara
Do you recognize any of them?