DJ Suonandajie takes up baseball from throwing stones at yaks

Posted at 4:17 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-04 19:03:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — DJ Suonandajie is thousands of miles away from Tibet, but is feeling right at home on the baseball diamond.

This summer, Suonandajie is playing center field for Regal Plastic in the Ban Johnson Collegiate League. His career is a long journey that started when he was a kid throwing rocks at yaks.

"Yak is an animal, right," said Suonandajie. "They're not going anywhere unless you tell them what direction they gotta go."

He's not trying to hit them, just throwing stones to show them who's boss.

"Just try to, you know, hit next to them to say, move on, boy," said Suonandajie.

Suonandajie had a cannon for an arm and was chosen to play baseball at age nine at the first Major League Baseball development center in China. Fast forward to 2017, when Suonandajie came to the United States for a baseball tournament.

"When I got here, there's a lot of good arms," said Suonandajie. "They throw, play pretty hard. A lot of stuff is very different, but bottom line, baseball is baseball. You just go there, compete and have fun."

Suonandajie stayed in the U.S., securing a student visa which led him to enroll at Los Angeles Harbor College, where he studied and played baseball, but his journey didn't stop there.

His next destination was Kansas City, where he joined the squad at Rockhurst University and is finishing his education.

"Baseball is like a dream," said Suonandajie. "I want to see how far I can go."

So far, Suonandajie has already gone about 7,500 miles.

"I mean, if there's nothing I can do about it, I at least can finish my education, so when I go back to my home, I have the right direction, the right attitude to tell younger generation how it's supposed to be and if you work hard enough you can go far," said Suonandajie.