MLB.com - High up in the Himalayas between Tibet and India sits the small Buddhist country of Bhutan. Sometimes known as the world's last Shangri-La, this nation of snowy alpine peaks and untouched mountain streams has fewer than 700,000 people who call it home. And yet perhaps the most remote country in the world is on its way to being a baseballing nation, growing from a few dozen kids playing on a concrete slab after school to more than 6,000 children who are fast becoming baseball fanatics despite few having ever seen a Major League game.
I've seen Cool Runnings so I know how this is going to go. Bhutan, despite being the most remote country in the world and having never even seen baseball before, finds enough talent to field a team that will take on others around the world. At first everyone will laugh and mock them.
"You can't play baseball in robes! This isn't pickle ball," they'll say.
But the young Bhutanese athletes will persist. Training with a goal of making it to America and competing with the best.
They will have to overcome much adversity on this path. Getting into bar fights and annoying their American coach who was forced to teach them as some sort of punishment. They will begin to bond and win some games gaining confidence and their own style of play.
Then finally, when they feel like they are ready to compete on the world stage, they will board a flight to America with dreams of knocking off one of the most iconic teams in baseball history.
That's right Bhutan will fall to the Savannah Bananas 15-1. All those months of practice and discipline and overcoming adversity will be washed away in a sea of yellow jerseys standing on each other's shoulders while pitching and doing summersaults while rounding the base paths on gappers.
And at that very moment, every single player from Bhutan will be asking themselves why they did't just stick to their country's usual past times, archery and darts. And also how they had never heard of these western devils in the bright uniforms.
"Traditionally, the sports in Bhutan are archery and darts," DeSantis said. "TV and Internet didn't even arrive in Bhutan until 1999 and 2000. It's one of the last countries to introduce both. So, it was really they'd show up and they learned. MLB, KBO, nothing's being broadcast. So no one really saw or knew of the sport until they were on the field."
No TV and internet until the millennium? OK, that makes more sense why they didn't know who the Bananas were. Wait til they hear about Adam22.
Despite the humiliating victory at the hands of a bunch of recently retired minor leaguers, the Bhutanese people will have much to be proud of. Picking up a game that just a few years ago was completely foreign to them. The game of baseball is spreading like wildfire in their country and kids are loving it.
My hope is that sometime soon we see the Bhutan team in the Little League World Series competing at the highest level.
Just stay away from the Bananas until you have a left hander with insane spin rate. Otherwise that home run in front of the Buddhist statue is going to look like child's play when the guy on stilts gets ahold of one of your pitches.