Running around to Give you the Reacharound

3.05.2009

Fixin' the World Baseball Classic

Furman Bisher's Worst Nightmare

Sometime last night, between my 6th Natty Light tallboy and waking up by rolling over one of the 6 staples holding together my lacerated scalp (long weekend), the World Baseball Classic began with defending champ's Japan's 4-0 victory over China. Call me a sucker for gimmicks, but I count me as a, and maybe the only, fan of this whole World Baseball Classic idea. It's like soccer's World Cup, only less gay. Unfortunately, like many of Bud Selig and Company's good ideas over the years, the WBC has been implemented so awkwardly that it isn't really viewed as anything more than a bush-league pet-project of Selig's. Among the problems:

1. Due to the timing, many of the best players sit out of competition.

Sure, someone like a Gary Sheffield ("if they ain't payin' me, i'm not playin" -2006) or Barry Bonds would never play in something like this; but, when stars like Albert Pujols and Johan Santana elect to sit this one out due to (very legitimate) concerns about how it will effect their readiness for the upcoming season, it kind of undermines the whole "world's best" mentality. Add in behind-the-scenes grumblings (like the Braves' supposed balking at a deal with Japaneese ace Kenshin Kawakami until he agreed not to play in the WBC), and the point is driven home further: MLB front offices don't like this thing. Not sure this problem can be fixed, at least until the WBC gains some Olympic-esque cache.

2. Teams can cherry pick players who've never lived in their country.

This seems less common this year, but why the hell should Nomar Garciaparra (born in California) be allowed to play for Mexico as he did in 2006? Maybe I'm sounding old-fashoined here, but you rep where you from. And A-Rod, born n' raised in Miami, is not from the Dominican Republic (though that seems like less of an issue now). Look at Italy's roster! It's like they let any scrub major leaguer whose name ends in a vowel on the team. I'd bet half that roster has never set foot in The Boot before. This rule needs to go...both here, and in the Olympics. Ben Gordon playing for England my ass.

3. Some of these teams should not be in the WBC, period.

Sorry, Selig, baseball ain't soccer. It's not a worldwide, beloved sport. They don't play world-class baseball in Europe. Ditto for South Africa. Peep this list of where every major league player ever has been born. Click the European countries. None of them have produced a major leaguer since the days when our Presidents wore monocles. Therefore, Italy and South Africa, be gone.

Taiwan and South Korea are new to the game and are already sending their best to the bigs, so they can stay.

China gets a pass too, since it's impossible to do anything global nowadays without including them. Plus, pretty soon they'll be genetically engeneering baseball players and forcing four-year-olds to undergo Tommy John surgery, so we may as well go ahead and jump the gun on this one.

Australia can stay as well, as they have proven quite adept at pumping out end-of-the-bench type talents.

Netherlands, you can hold your spot by default, but you have to change your name to Dutch Antillies, to better represent where your baseball bread is buttered.

Replace Italy and South Africa with Columbia (let Edgar Rentaria and Orlando Cabrera fight to the death for the starting SS spot) and Nicaragua, countries that play baseball year-round and have actually produced major-leaguers this century. Hopefully, this can mean the end of the mercy rule (yes, there really is one) in the WBC.

So there you have it...a tournament consisting of teams made up of players actually from the countries they're representing, in which baseball is actually played. A novel concept, I know, but one juuust obvious enough for Selig to miss the boat. And while we're at it, let's keep holding this thing every three years (after this year, it will be held every four years), just to give it some history and intrigue. This could help with problem #1, as national pride might be enough to bring out the biggest stars in the game.



Tomorrow: Sue's WBC predictions.

Saturday: USA's Game 1 liveblog. C'mon, it's early March, and I'm not feelin like talking about how the Hawks are quietly collapsing, so what else do ya want from us?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure wich one of you thinks the World Cup is gay, but I would love to know why it is that you think it's gay? Think about how in the World cup you have both group play and single elimination. And last time I checked, it's the only sport in which every single country in the world participates. As a matter of fact, FIFA has more delegates than the United Nations, yes it's true check it out, because there's countrie/territories that participate as individuals but belong to other big nations in deplomatic representation matters.

As far as to why some players choose to represent other coutries, it's called heritage, get beyond your Yankee mentallity and realize that this country is made up of people with strong ties to other parts of the world, we are in essence a country made up of immigrants, unless you're a Native American, oh and in case you haven't noticed, MLB is the most represented League as far as the big 3 in the US.
If everyone used their players, just so you know it would be R.D. maybe Puerto Rico everyonce in a while & Cuba whenever they figure out how to beat R.D.
Just imagine this, Vladimir Guerrero, Pujols, Beltre, Manny, Ortiz, Jose Reyes do I need to name the SS, CF, C? Don't get started with the Pitching of the US, because CC Peavy and the dude from SF would have to pitch perfectly to get by.

Oh one more thing, as far as Soccer World Cup being gay, last time I checked, NFL football is a derived copy of Rugby, and more people watch the World Cup DRAW!!! Than the Super Bowl, put that in perspective!

sheepish said...

Sounds like someone has got their panties in a wad about a little criticism of the world cup. Until futbol players stop incessantly flopping, the sport will not earn my respect. Successfully "drawing a charge" foul notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you knew a little about the World Cup and you weren't such an ignorant trailor park trash blogger, you wouldn't get people pissed off at you when you offend the and call gay the biggest sporting competition the planet was ever known!
But you have all the respect for Baseball which basically got kicked out from the Olympics because of the standard use of PDE's, or the flopping of the NBA, or the antics of NFL player, trus me there's flopping and playes faking stuff, you just don't see it as much, but you do see those NFL players actually competing for their country do you? They usually don't do a damn thing for their country unless the NFL forces them to with their charity programs!

Osama Bin Jammin said...

Anon-

Thanks for the readership. We appreciate it. However, a few notes:

1) No need for name-calling. We're all - presumably - intelligent individuals here capable of the basic forms of human communication without resorting to baseless, and more importantly unfunny, attacks. Let's get some wit and humor in there.

2) Please try to use some semblance of proper grammar when attacking the proprietors of this blog. It just seems...incongruous, when you allege trashiness in others with face-twisting grammar.

3) While my friend SJF may certainly be confused with white trash due to some familiar symptoms (namely, his ride and the suspicious-at-best company he keeps), he at least has the gumption to place his name on his opinions, allowing others to openly attack nothing more than an opinion. Please recognize you do not share this characteristic.

4) The only time we ever visited a trailer (that's the correct spelling, by the way) park was last night, when we were WHOA DAMN. Almost made an openly offensive insult insinuating sexual congress activities with our readers' mothers! HO, MAN I'm glad I stopped myself.

-OBJ

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Joe Friday said...

Race-baiting and soccer-bashing...the two biggest way to bring out idiots to comment on something.

I second sheepish's comment.

Anonymous said...

Wow I let it be known who it is leaving the comments and I get deleted, pretty lame considering it was probably the least insulting comment? Just wondering which one of you ( Joe Friday or Osama Bin Jammin ) deleted it, just wondering?