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YouTube is baseball ambassador overseas

Instead of offering full-length baseball games overseas itself, Major League Baseball has tapped Google's YouTube for the Japanese market.

In a tip of the hat to YouTube's global influence, Major League Baseball is allowing the video powerhouse to show full-length games in Japan, they announced Monday.

In addition to current season games, delayed for 36 hours after they're played, YouTube users in Japan will also be able to watch multiple highlight reels of every game from the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Replays of last weeks' games are available for free starting Monday on the channel of Google-owned YouTube.

The channel will feature highlights from Japan-born players. Fans can watch Hideo Nomo's first game in the big leagues or Hideki Matsui's MVP performance in the 2009 World Series, YouTube said.

MLB's site for Japanese speakers Screenshot by CNET

"These YouTube channels continue our efforts to bring MLB content to fans around the globe," said Kenny Gersh, senior vice president of business development for MLB Advanced Media.

The move may not mean much to baseball fans in the U.S. because there is no MLB channel on YouTube where they can access full-length games. But for YouTube and Google, the deal signals a closer relationship with one of the world's most successful sports leagues.

In the U.S., baseball has one of the most tech savvy sports leagues and retains tight control over the Internet distribution of full-length games. Major League Baseball Advanced Media runs the most successful paid-subscription service on the Web.

There is nothing in the press release about why MLB Advanced Media isn't offering these games to Japan itself.