Baseball featuring Tom Selleck shows the cultural differences between the Americans and the Japanese. The movie is about a major league baseball player, Jack Elliot (Selleck), whose arrogance, bad attitude and age have put him number two on the team to the star rookie of the New York Yankees. He signs to play baseball in Japan in hopes to strengthen his career to come back to the states and play as the star in the major league again. When Jack gets to Japan, he quickly learns about language barriers, and differences in culture and team attitude towards the game.
Jack faces a language barrier upon arrival to Japan. Jack speaks English, while the manager and team speak Japanese. This makes it hard for Jack to communicate with the rest of the team. He is assigned a personal interpreter to translate what the team says and to translate to the team what Jack says. The interpreter attempts to make Jack look better by changing what he is saying to something not offensive and hide his bad attitude. Also, Jack finds language difficulties when he dates Hiroko the manager's daughter. She speaks English, but problems with communicating still arise in the relationship. Jack tries to overcome the language barrier with everyone by learning some Japanese to communicate with the team and by becoming understanding of those whom do not speak English well.
The culture in Japan is very different than in the United States. The Japanese are offended by gestures that would not be offensive to an American. One instance this is shown is in Jack's first visit to the locker room. The team gets angry with Jack when he wears his shoes into the locker room; it is respectful to take them off. The Japanese also see the baseball field as sacred. Jack usually spits his chewing tobacco onto the field while he is playing. This would be disrespectful and offensive to the team. Their customs of greeting people also differ. When Jack first meets the manager, Chief, he reaches out to shake Chief's hand.