It looks like MLB formalized the plans for the World Baseball Classic, the international World Cup style tournament that will take place in March of 2006 (and regular intervals in the ensuing years).
Participating teams include USA, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Netherlands, South Africa, Venezuela, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Australia, and Italy. Cuba and Japan are also included in the tournament bracket (mlb.mlb.com), though the last I heard, those nations hadn't officially accepted an invitation.
This has the potential to be something really awesome and coo. For as long as I can remember, an international tournament with the world's best players has been one of sports' greatest "what-ifs". It doesn't happen in the Olympics, and it doesn't happen anywhere else.
The only problem is that this has the potential to become as much of an exhibition as the All Star Game is now rather than a win at all costs tournament. Already Gary Sheffield is saying that he doesn't want to play if he isn't going to be paid extra money. I can't imagine that he'll be the only guy that refuses to play (though I figure it will be a bigger problem with the American players than the international players). On the other hand, you're going to have owners and team executives that don't really want their player participating in competitive games in early March with a chance that they'll be injured. Then you've got the fact that MLB says that there will be pitch count limitations on pitchers, and the fact that there can be no more than nine players participating from each team which definitely has the potential to screw some things up.
Anyway, does anyone else have any thoughts on this?
EDIT: Why is A-Rod, born in New York, NY, playing for the Dominican Republic? It's swell to be proud of your heritage and all, but the guy is American and he should play for America. Perhaps this shouldn't bother me so much! Anyway, I'd be more than glad to trade him for Tejada, or failing that, David Ortiz. :)
(edited by BigSteve on 13.7.05 2200) SportsBlog (baltimorenine.blogspot.com)
Well i wouldn't count Gary Sheffield as the MLB rep, he's a little whining baby. I'm sure there are some guys who won't want to participate, but I'm sure you can find some that will also. Dontrell Willis has already gone on record of saying that he would be honored to play. Like in basketball, I do think it's the US team that is probably going to have some people declining though. After watching the Homerun Derby contest and seeing how into it all the different countries are it's clear to see that all the players from other countries are very proud to be representing their countries and I think a lot of them will do it. I could even see Pedro doing it, even though he didn't want to compete in the All Star game.
Man what a great lineup the Domincan Repulblic will have. Oritz, Soriano, Tejada, Aramis Ramirez, Vlad GUerrero, Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols. I think i'm going to move there and try and get on the team as catcher. They would definitely be crushing the ball if they got all them to play. US would have an advantage in pitching if they got the top guys to go though.
I hate Gary Sheffield. I think he should have been banned for life after the stunt he pulled in Milwaukee. Yet, somehow, I agree with him on this idea. I hate this World Baseball Classic idea even more than I hate the All Star Game and the All Star Break(considering when X-Mas Eve fell in '04 and '05, it is the only truly dead night of the year). If Schilling is pitching for the U.S. and Ortiz or Manny are batting for the Dominican, why the hell would I want Schilling to go inside on them? If he hits them and they get hurt, the Red Sox are screwed. If he goes inside and they get pissed, clubhouse chemistry is disrupted, and the Red Sox are screwed. And, if you are a Yankees fan, why would you want Rivera to have to pitch an extra month on top of the extra month he has pitched the past decade? A White Sox fan Buehrle an extra 20 innings, especially if he were to have shorter off-season rest due to post-season? Or, a real crazy idea: Say you are a Brewers fan and you think 2006 is the season they seriously contend for the Wild Card. Wait, Ben Sheets blew out his elbow in the World Baseball Classic and is done until August? Instead of possibly drawing 2.5 million and finally becoming relevent, the Brewers do around a million in attendance and are out of the race before their ace joins the team in Spring Training. And, tough luck if a player on your team ends up on a team stuck playing in Japan in March. Look at what has happened to teams that open the season in Japan, slow regular season starts. The only tournament that matters is the one played in October that is preceded by 162 games that decide who plays in the tournament.
Originally posted by BigSteveIt looks like MLB formalized the plans for the World Baseball Classic, the international World Cup style tournament that will take place in March of 2006 (and regular intervals in the ensuing years
Another damn stupid idea from the people who have killed off the All-Star game.
Which, by the way had it's lowest ratings of all-time for the second straight year. Congrats, Spud Earwig.
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I think it's a great IDEA, but as is typical MLB is only getting it about 25%-correct. If they want to make a big-time World Cup-ish tourney and have it be legit, they need to take a cue from soccer and have everyone shut down their domestic leagues for a month and play it in the middle of June, when everyone is in top form. I would definitely watch THAT. This...not so much.
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Originally posted by JayJayDeanI think it's a great IDEA, but as is typical MLB is only getting it about 25%-correct. If they want to make a big-time World Cup-ish tourney and have it be legit, they need to take a cue from soccer and have everyone shut down their domestic leagues for a month and play it in the middle of June, when everyone is in top form. I would definitely watch THAT. This...not so much.
I agree that that is the ideal way to do the tournament, but it just isn't feasible. MLB already squeezes 162 games into a six month season which gives teams, give or take, 21 off days during the season. So if they shut down for about two weeks, they're left with three bad options as far as I can see.
They can still have a 162 game schedule by extending the season two weeks at the end. That won't work because the World Series is going to be over until mid-November, and who wants to play in 40 degree weather with snow on the ground (at least in Boston, Detroit, etc.). They could also have a 162 game schedule that finishes in October, but that cuts the number of days off to one per month, and I doubt that the players will agree to that.
The only other option is to scale back the regular season schedule to 148-150 games. The baseball schedule has been either 154 or 162 games for over a century, so I can't see them breaking that tradition now (especially since they'd still probably play 162 in years when the World Cup isn't held).
Originally posted by Mr. BoffoI'm no purist, which is probably why my idea won't go through, but I think they should cut the schedule anyway. Baseball plays twice as many games as basketball, probably twice as many as hockey (don't know for sure). What do they do, like 13 games between division opponents? It's absurd. Less overall games makes each remaining game more important (look at how important a single game in football is), which should increase attendance. The NHL closes down for world championships, baseball could too if they didn't pack so many games into the schedule.
I doubt it would increase attendance enough for them to break even. Major league games are averaging a little over 31,000 a game with each team having 81 home dates. If they scaled that back to 74 home dates per team (as a guess), then they would have to increase their per game attendance to about 34,000 just to break even as far as total attendance (of course the math there is a little different if some teams can increase ticket prices because the supply decreases, but I doubt that would happen in many cities). Anyway, it is tradition, and they wouldn't break tradition if they don't think that there is money to be made (which I don't think that there would be).
(edited by BigSteve on 14.7.05 1537) SportsBlog (baltimorenine.blogspot.com)
I'm no purist, which is probably why my idea won't go through, but I think they should cut the schedule anyway. Baseball plays twice as many games as basketball, probably twice as many as hockey (don't know for sure). What do they do, like 13 games between division opponents? It's absurd. Less overall games makes each remaining game more important (look at how important a single game in football is), which should increase attendance. The NHL closes down for world championships, baseball could too if they didn't pack so many games into the schedule.
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