Japan was recently rocked by a sports scandal involving, of all things... high school baseball. I come from a baseball-crazy family, so my perspective involves a little wishful thinking. Would that baseball were as popular in America as it is in Japan.
Even though soccer is supplanting yakyu as Japan's national pasttime.
According to a story I read in Asahi Weekly, nearly 400 high schools have been giving preferential treatment to their baseball players. These perks include lower enrollment fees and even free tuition. By Japan High School Baseball Association's count, 7,971 ballplayers in practically every prefecture received these perks. One player from the Senahu University Kitakami High School actually got money from the Seibu Lions, a pro team.
High school baseball is massive here. The yearly championship tournament is nationally broadcast and whenever a local team moves up in its brackets, people around here excitedly tell me about it in class the next day.
Meanwhile, in America... who cares?