Braves' Ronald Acuña Jr. joins ownership group of unexpected (and faraway) league

Ronald Acuna Jr. is stretching his entrepreneurial muscles with his latest business venture.

Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves
Oakland Athletics v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

While the Atlanta Braves are just getting started in 2024, there have been machinations for a while to try and grow the game of baseball across the world. Obviously baseball has been big in Latin America and Asia for quite some time, but the World Baseball Classic has given a platform for the game globally. MLB seems so interested in the game's global growth that international MLB games are starting to pop all over from the recent Seoul series to games in Mexico City, London, and in the Dominican Republic all being on tap in 2024.

However, one region that has remained elusive when it comes to the spread of baseball has been the Middle East. The game just doesn't have the history there and when you combine that with some geopolitical challenges, professional baseball just hasn't been able to take least until now. Last year, it was revealed that a new league based in the Middle East, Baseball United, was launching with the goal of fielding four teams to start with.

So why should this matter to Braves fans at all? Well, Ronald Acuna Jr. was just announced as one of the owners of the new league.

Braves News: Ronald Acuna Jr. adds league owner to his growing resume

This is a weird one because on the one hand, investing in a league just starting up could be incredibly lucrative for Acuna Jr. and the chance to grow the game is hard to pass up. As for Baseball United's side, adding an investor with the name recognition that Acuna Jr. has adds immediate legitimacy to their efforts to get the league started and is certain to get a lot of eyeballs.

However, there is some understandable concern that Acuna Jr.'s attention could be divided with an ownership stake in a new league. We don't know exactly the level of his investment and he wouldn't invest in the league if it was a true conflict of interest when it comes to MLB, but this sort of thing isn't something that is going to take zero attention or effort from him. It is worth noting that a bunch of former big leaguers also have stakes in the league including Albert Pujols, Mariano Rivera, and Barry Larkin.

The most likely scenario here is that Acuna Jr. was given a small ownership stake that allows the league to leverage his brand and make him some extra money. Fans shouldn't expect him to have to fly off to Dubai to attend to league business in the middle of the MLB season or anything like that. While there is a chance that it could be a distraction, that is true of any business deal made by any player in the league. It is on Ronald to make sure he stays focused on his game with the Braves regardless of his business interests off the field.

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