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Curtis Granderson's Far Eastern Vacation

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Not only has Curtis Granderson become a notable broadcaster in the off-season, but he has also been an excellent ambassador for his sport throughout the world. Once again, the Detroit Tigers' centerfielder will spend part of his winter promoting the game and leading clinics in a country where baseball isn't widely played.

This year, Granderson will visit China - specifically Shanghai and Beijing - as a Major League Baseball Ambassador. Over the past two years, he has conducted clinics in England, the Netherlands, Italy, and South Africa.

"The big thing for me is to go to a part of the world that I've never been to," says Granderson, who traveled with his parents. "Then you get there, and you see the talent, the interest, and the excitement on the kids' faces.

"Most kids know or at least have heard of the Red Sox or the Yankees. They may not know me, but they'll recognize my face as being the guy in the picture we've been promoting."

As a result of the Dodgers and Padres playing exhibition games in Beijing this spring, coupled with China's participation in baseball for the country's hosting of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the sport (called "bangqui" in China) appears to once again be taking root after being banned by Mao Zedong back in the 1960s. As it did in 2006, China will have a team in next year's World Baseball Classic.

Speaking of the WBC, Granderson hopes to be a part of the USA squad. First-round games will be played in Tokyo, Mexico City, Toronto, and Puerto Rico, with the championship game set to be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

You can see some of Granderson's Far East itinerary here.

(Hat tip to Deaner, who mentioned this in the comments of our last post.)