How do you say 'Play ball' in Swedish?
Not here — the Dodgers and Angels open their seasons Monday — but in Japan. Six games today launch the season in the Japanese Central League and the Japanese Pacific League.
Sunday is Opening Day in France, Germany, South Korea and Sweden — and in the United States, where the Phillies host the Braves in the now-traditional ESPN Sunday night opener.
A look at Opening Day around the world, from the International Baseball Federation:
When the Atlanta Braves visit the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday night in Philadelphia. PA USA, the eyes of the sport, especially in North America, will be focused on the nationally televised Opening Night of Major League Baseball. But leagues across the world are also beginning their seasons this week and throughout the month.
"Last week we were at the Sport Accord meetings in Denver and Ted Turner told the crowd, 'The Olympics without baseball is like summer without spring,' so it is great to see spring and baseball starting together in many parts of the world this week," said Dr. Harvey Schiller, President, International Baseball Federation. "The various opening days around the world the next few weeks will once again show the world that baseball is a global game, and we are very excited about where the game is going, from the grassroots to the professional leagues, as we head into another exciting seven months of the great game."
Below are some international opening days and some links to more info on their leagues:
3 April, Japanese Central League, Pacific League Opening Day
Locations: six home sites, Japan
Sponsor/Organization: Japanese Central League, Japanese Pacific League
Location: Saarlouis, Germany
Sponsor/Organization: Deutscher Baseball und Softball Verband
Location: Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju etc., Korea
Sponsor/Organizer: Korea Baseball Organization
Sponsor/Organizer: Fédération Française de Baseball et de Softball
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Sponsor/Organizer: Swedish Baseball and Softball Federation
Location: San Marino, Italy
Sponsor/Organizer: FIBS Italia
Sponsor/Organizer: Koninklijke Nederlandse Baseball en Softball Bond
Location: Cojusna, Moldova
Sponsor/Organizer: Baseball Moldova
Location: Karlskoga, Sweden
Sponsor/Organizer: Svenska Baseboll Och Softball Forbundet
Location: Espoo, Finland
Sponsor/Organizer: Finnish Baseball and Softball Federation
— Bill Shaikin
Photo: Yomiuri Giants Manager Tatsunori, left, shakes hands with Hiroshima Toyo Carp Manager Marty Brown during an opening ceremony of the Japanese Central League on Friday. Credit: Koji Sasahara / Associated Press