KARACHI: Baseball United, the first professional baseball league serving the Middle East, India and Pakistan, has announced the award of its second franchise to Karachi.
The new franchise, and first professional baseball team in Pakistan’s history, will compete against Baseball United’s recently announced team from India, the Mumbai Cobras.
The new team is called the Karachi Monarchs and will use the Karachi “K” and a bejeweled crown as its primary brand marks. The Monarchs’ name honors Karachi’s leadership role as Pakistan’s industrial, economic and financial capital, while also paying homage to the city’s passionate love for baseball’s bat and ball counterpart: cricket. The Karachi Kings are one of the founding franchises of the Pakistan Super League, the nation’s premier cricket league.
Monarchs is also the moniker of one of the United States’ most successful baseball teams. The Kansas City Monarchs won 12 Negro league titles — most of which came before Major League Baseball’s integration — aided by Hall of Famers like Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks and Jackie Robinson.
“It’s an honor to welcome the great city of Karachi into the Baseball United family,” said Kash Shaikh, the league’s president, CEO and co-owner.
“This city is both historic and forward-looking. It’s the commercial, cultural and cosmopolitan heartbeat of Pakistan. It’s as large as New York City but has a median age that’s 15 years younger. And those young people love their sports.
“Our Baseball United team is so excited about the opportunity to connect with all of them as we work to inspire more and more Pakistanis to fall in love with the game of baseball.”
Karachi is the 12th largest city in the world, with a metropolitan area of nearly 20 million people. Like Mumbai, it sits along the Arabian Sea and is the country’s main seaport.
The Karachi Monarchs and Mumbai Cobras will battle it out alongside two other, soon-to-be-named, franchises at Baseball United’s Dubai Showcase in November.
The Monarchs and Cobras are expected to be the league’s biggest rivals, following in the footsteps of the Pakistani and Indian cricket teams, which regularly draw hundreds of millions of viewers to their international matches.
“In the United States, we have the Yankees versus the Red Sox,” said John Miedreich, executive vice president of baseball operations and co-owner of Baseball United.
“In South Asia, they have India versus Pakistan. We’ve seen the passion and pageantry that surrounds these nations’ cricket matches. Now, we can’t wait to see all that drama unfold on the baseball diamond.”
Baseball United will name the Monarchs’ honorary general manager and manager in the coming days. The two other Showcase franchises will be named over the next two months. Following the announcements of all four teams, Baseball United will conduct its first draft, selecting Showcase players from its official player pool.
The announcement of the Karachi franchise comes on the heels of Baseball United’s partnership with Pakistan Federation Baseball, the country’s governing body for the sport, and the most successful baseball federation in South Asia. The agreement will enable the two organizations to grow the game across Pakistan and within Pakistani communities worldwide.