Play Ball! (in China)

BaseballBaseball is one of the United States’ most popular sports, but it has become popular in many other countries as well, especially in Asia and Latin America. In the U.S., the organization of professional baseball teams is called Major League Baseball (a league is a collection of teams who play each other in a sport). Yesterday, the MLB announced that it was going to have two of its teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres, play two games in Beijing, China, on March 15th and 16th. This will be the first time that two professional U.S. baseball teams play a game in China. The game will take place in the stadium (an arena or place where many people can gather to watch sports) that will be used for the 2008 Olympics later this year.

As some of you know, I am a baseball fan, especially of the L.A. Dodgers. I don’t think I will be able to make the trip to watch the games in China, but I’m sure they will be on television here, since both the Padres and the Dodgers are from southern California.

By the way, Padres is Spanish for “fathers” or “priests.” The name refers to the fact that some of the earliest Europeans to come to southern California were Catholic priests from Spain (a priest named John would be called “Father John,” for example). The word Dodgers is a bit more difficult to explain. The team began in Brooklyn, a part of New York City, and were originally called the Brooklyn Dodgers. To dodge means to move quickly so you avoid getting hit by something, such as a car or train. Back in the late 19th century, Brooklyn had small trains called trollies, so one of the original names of the team was the Trolley Dodgers, since people had to dodge the trollies when they crossed the street. The team moved to Los Angels in the late 1950s, but the name was kept, so they are now the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It is not uncommon for professional sports teams in the U.S. to move cities but keep the name of the city where they started. Another example: one of the professional basketball teams in Los Angeles is the L.A. Lakers. The team is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were called the Lakers because Minneapolis is called the “City of Lakes,” since there are many lakes inside the city. When the team moved to Los Angeles many years later, the name remained the same, even though there aren’t really any lakes in L.A.!

One more thing: the traditional way to start a baseball game is for the umpire (the referee, the person who makes sure players follow the rules) to shout, “Play ball!” Now I have to learn how to say that in Chinese!


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13 Responses to Play Ball! (in China)

  1. Alexey says:

    Wow, very interesting! Thanks Jeff!

  2. emiliano says:

    Yes, it is really very interesting and it is clear that you like this sport. For me is nice to know something about a matter that I do not know anything about, and your explanation is as good as usually.
    Also it is good to know that proffesional sports teams in U.S. keep names despite they move to other city, not all I suppose, but it is a way of doing things that I like.
    Very interesting to me also the name of the other team San Diego Padres and to know which is the reason for that name. I like also how in U.S. keep names and traditions
    despite some names and customs are not English origin.
    Good for you Jeff, and I hope you may go to China, with Lucy, and see your L.A.Dodgers in Beijiing. Sure Lucy would prefer to see “The Great Wall” and walk along on it.

  3. Davi, Castro says:

    I`d like to know a little about L.A. Tell me about the City, people and the Cassinos.

    Thank you!


  4. Darren says:

    This is a piece of great news that there is a gooden opportunity for us to watch closely at these two best baseball teams playing each other in Beijing this middle of March.
    I’ve made up my mind that I’m going for it then, although I’m not a fan of baseball. I just want to be involved to experience the joy that baseball brings us.

  5. Luke Zhang says:

    Jeff, “Bisakasi” is the Chinese pronunciation of “Play ball”, it means match begins.

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  6. Gloria says:

    I am a girl from Beijing, China. Though I know very little about baseball, I do know Dodger…

    After Jeff’s introduction of the coming baseball game, I am anxious to watch it.

  7. coooleve says:

    Very intersting !

  8. zhou wei says:

    Hello, Jeff , Lucy and all the readers of website.
    Thanks for Jeff’s introduction today and I am very happy that such a wonderful baseball game will be held in Beijing, China in the future days.
    Though I am not in the city of Beijing, just another city of the China, I will not miss such good play.
    And I am very glad to tell Jeff how to say “Play ball” in Chinese which is my best pleasure.
    Generally speaking, we usually use one expression “bi sai kai shi”to mean starting the game which is not like English expression to show us what kind of game is playing, such as “Play ball” meaning “the ball game is starting now”. So there are two Chinese saying to mean “Play ball”, one is “bi sai kai shi” meaning “the game is playing now” (no matter what kind of games could be used this expression ), the other one is “qiu sai kai shi” meaning “the ball game is playing now”. We usually use the former more in a match.
    Unfortunately, you can not hear my pronunciation of the saying of “bi sai kai shi” in Chinese, so I use English near pronunciation word and some phonetic symbols to make a near pronounce which like these words pronunciation “bee” “thigh” /ke/ “sh”.I can not image how your pronunciation is.:) But I’m sure your pronunciation must be near the right one.GOOD LUCK!
    Thanks again for your helping with us! AND BEST WISHES!

  9. Bill Ng says:

    Hello, Dr. Jeff McQuillan,

    I am your listener from mainland China. Thank you and Dr. Lucy Tse for doing such a wonderful podcast, it really help me a lot in English listening comprehension. Thank you very much!

    Here I would like to demonstrate how to say “Play ball!” in Mandarin Chinese. “Play ball” would be translated to “Kai Qiu” in Mandarin Chinese I believe. “Kai” stand for “begin or start to do something” and “Qiu” stand for “ball”. Since I don’t know how to type phonetic symbol, I can not show you the correct pronunciation.

    Best wishes to you and Lucy!

  10. Ellly says:

    WOW! It’s interesting that two big major league baseball teams play a game in Beijing !
    I think China will get more attention from all over the world and it’s going to work out at this point, few months before the 2008 Olympics.
    The game might be fun. I wanna check this out if i can watch it on TV
    Thanks for those good information as usual, Jeff 🙂

  11. Alfonso says:

    Well, football teams from all countries in Europe discovered many years ago that it was good idea to go to China to play football matches, in order to increase their sales in that country. So I think those two baseball teams are going there just for the same reason.
    Here in Spain it is very difficult to get the opportunity to watch a baseball game because it’s not a sport with a lot of fans (I don’t even know if there is something similar to a professional league).
    Main sports in Spain are still football and basketball. We have improved a lot in basketball, and Spain is the current champion of the world, and we have some players in the NBA. In football we have very good teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona or Sevilla, but the national team is not that good.
    Thanks for the podcasts, good way to learn and help teaching English!!!

  12. jason k. says:

    Umpires usually don’t say it in mandarin. They simply say “Play Ball” (yeah in English if u wonder)

    Though it should sound like “Kai-Chou” in Chinese.

  13. Kohji Kuwabara says:

    I am very surprised the opinion of Mr. zhou wei which describes “bi sai kai shi”. Because, if Japanese say “Play Ball” in Japanese, it will be “shi ai kai shi”. How similar pronunciation they are!
    But, the Japanese umpire says just “Prei Booru!” instead of “play ball”.

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