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Baseball strikes out in Beijing

January 5, 2009 |  3:30 pm

Olympic competition in the doomed Beijing stadium.

There was great fanfare in Beijing before the 2008 Summer Olympics regarding Major League Baseball's first games in China. The Dodgers and San Diego Padres played a couple of exhibitions in March in the gleaming new stadium built for the Olympic competition.

And afterward, MLB responded gleefully, stating that the experience had been excellent, many in the game saying they'd love to go back to further increase the game's profile in that country.

Baseball, it seemed, was getting a toehold in the world's most populous country.

The Olympic competition was also successful, leaving backers of the game in China to hope that the 15,000-seat Wukesong Sports Center baseball stadium would be used to help lift that game into the national sports psyche.

Well, the home run ball will be replaced by the wrecking ball.

The Beijing News reported today that the baseball stadium will be the first Beijing Olympic venue to be razed. Unable to support the facility, officials have decided to build a  shopping mall  on the site.

The paper said that aside from the MLB rental fee for the exhibitions, the facility had generated no income.  The universal sport of shopping, apparently, holds greater promise, and we can look forward to that catchy new tune sung by every aspiring shopper, "Take Me Out to the Mall Game."

-- Mike James

Photo: Competition during the Olympics in the soon-to-be-demolished baseball stadium in Beijing. Credit: Omar Torres / AFP/ Getty Images