DUBAI: Baseball United, the first-ever professional baseball league focused on the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, has announced that former Major League Baseball World Series champion Dennis Cook will lead the Abu Dhabi-based Falcons franchise as their first-ever manager.
Cook embarks on this journey armed with 15 years of experience at the MLB level, as well as recent coaching experience at Northwestern University. Cook pitched for several MLB teams, including the San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, and New York Mets. He won a World Series title with the Florida (Miami) Marlins in 1997.
Cook will team with Baseball United co-owner and former New York Yankees All-Star Nick Swisher, who will serve as the team’s honorary general manager. Swisher also won a World Series title in 2009. The two former MLB stars will work to create a winning culture at one of the Middle East’s first-ever professional baseball franchises.
“Dennis is an amazing addition to our Baseball United team,” said Kash Shaikh, CEO, chairman, and majority owner of Baseball United. “He’s a proven winner, with meaningful contributions to a lot of winning ball clubs for a decade and a half during his MLB career. Since then, he’s stayed wired into the game at the amateur, professional, and international levels. You can feel his passion in every conversation, and he will be an amazing ambassador for the game here in the UAE. I can’t wait to see him on the field leading the Falcons.”
Cook pitched over 1,000 innings at the MLB level, amassing more than 60 wins and over 700 strikeouts, shifting from starter to relief pitcher for the majority of his career. Cook was also a good hitter and is No. 2 on the list of Major League All-Time Best Hitting Pitchers between 1973 and 2003 (with 100 or more at-bats).
On the international stage, Cook served as Team Sweden’s head coach in 2010.
“I’m honored to be named the manager of the Falcons,” said Cook. “It’s been so exciting watching Baseball United develop, and it’s a blessing to now be a central part of this journey. I’m truly grateful to Kash, John Miedreich (executive vice president of baseball operations), and the entire team for giving me the opportunity to be part of something incredibly special. The credentials of this ownership group are outstanding, and we have the right people to execute this remarkable vision. I can’t wait to work alongside Nick to help make the UAE proud.”
Swisher, who was recently in Dubai for the launch of the Falcons franchise, will also play a role as a color analyst for Baseball United’s television broadcasts.
“I continue to be grateful for the opportunities that Baseball United has awarded me,” said Swisher. “As an investor and co-owner, my goal was to be an active participant in the creation and growth of this league. Now, not only will I be able to call the games from the broadcast booth, but I’ll be able to help shape the roster of one of our flagship franchises. The best part — I get to partner with Dennis to make it all happen.”
The Falcons will start play during Baseball United’s first season, slated to begin in November of 2024.