Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The World Baseball Classic

Not sure how many of you are aware of this, but Major League Baseball has decided to try a new World Cup style baseball tournament called the "World Baseball Classic." Some people aren't thrilled about it, but this is the same people who said they rubbed steroids onto their skin without knowing it.

I think I am an absolute sucker. I know for a FACT that the only reason baseball is doing this is to make more money. From the WBC, sure, but also from trying to expose the whole world to baseball and presumably make a ton of residual dough. It's 100% money-grubbing.

But I am freaking excited for this. It's all the best players in the world playing my favorite sport in the world for the World. It's like the lines get re-drawn for a few weeks before everything goes back to normal. Derek Jeter vs. Mariano Rivera? How amazing would that be? It will be strange rooting against Hideki Matsui and Bernie Williams and Chien-Ming Wang, but awesome to root for Mark Tiexiera and Dontrelle Willis and Roger Clemens. Well, maybe not Roger Clemens.

Along with my useless support for NYC2012, I think I've made it clear that I will root for any faceless conglomerate that pretends it cares but is actually out to squeeze every last buck out of everyone. That said, let's go Coca-Cola!


Alex said...

So I'm mildly confused... These are All-Star teams that are competing? So it's basically replacing the Olympic baseball event in a way?

Wouldn't it be much, much cooler to have the actual teams from the actual countries compete against each other? And, I don't know, call it the... ummm... World Series?

That would rock.

Geoffrey said...

Retroactively it's replacing the Olympic baseball event. There's suspicion that the IOC was angry at MLB for making this tourney so decided to yank baseball out of the Olympics as a result. Clearly the IOC are very nice people.

I don't understand your second point. These are actual teams from actual countries. Each country will select its best 25(?) baseball players and those players will represent that country.

Alex said...

Okay, here's my point:

What's the difference between the Mets and the All-Star Team?

I'm saying, it would be infinitely cooler to have the Mets playing a team from Mexico, than just a random collection of ballplayers.

Although the Mets probably wouldn't be playing, let's be honest.

Anonymous said...

but some of those Mets players might BE mexican, so which team do they play on? get it NOW, Alex? jesus, i hope so.
people playing on major league teams will play for the country they are native to....dummy.

Geoffrey said...

Let me see if I have this right: you think the baseball champion from MLB (the 2004 Red Sox, for example) should represent North America and play the champion from other countries/areas?

Not a bad idea at all. But it's kind of unprecedented; there's no sport that has a true "World Series" like you're describing... it kind of just stays in one country or region of the world.

The closest thing is a World Cup, which is what MLB is trying to do. Why innovate when you can duplicate?

Alex said...

No, no. The Mets should play Mexico. That's what I mean.


Yes, basically, they don't even need to sync up their baseball seasons, but how freaking awesome would it be to have the Red Sox, winner's of the United States Semi-Finals, then playing in the North American semi-final, then go on to play each of the other six continents for THE CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE WORLD.

Probably not Antarctica, though.

Actually, how freaking awesome would it be if they seperated into hempispheres.

"This Week, it's the battle for the baseball chapionship of the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE OF PLANET EARTH!!!"

There's seriously no contest like this?

Geoffrey said...

I'm pretty sure there isn't. You'd basically have to have a sport that everyone plays, and that's a rarity right there.

Soccer would be the closest thing to a univeral sport, and they use the World Cup system of talent-separation themselves. Maybe they also pit their champions against each other transcontinentally without my knowledge. I wish they'd tell me though.

All I know is the champion of MLS doesn't get invited anywhere. And if MLS isn't involved, it's barely soccer at all.

Andrew Missel said...

This is Mr. Soccer here with some info for Geoff:

A tournament of the type Alex describes DOES exist for soccer: it's called the Champions' League. Basically, the best club teams from Europe play a tournament, so you can have an Italian guy playing for an English team against, say, an English guy playing for an Italian team. Liverpool won this year.

I also have some info for Alex: this would never work for baseball, because America would kick the living shit out of any other country's championship team. Because God loves America, and also because we invented baseball. Also, we have the best players from all around the world already playing here.

Alex said...

Then shouldn't it be a no-brainer for America to set this up? So we can win?

I'm serious, btw.

Geoffrey said...

I disagree with Andrew, twice if he's serious about U.S. being God's Baseball Country:

1) I don't think a European championship is nearly the same as a World Championship. Does Brazil play in it? Japan? Anyone from Africa?

2) Japanese All-Star teams regularly beat U.S. All-Star teams in exhibitions played after the season. U.S. wins a bit more often (I think) but it would not be a slam-dunk U.S. victory.

Andrew Missel said...

No club teams from Brazil, Japan, etc. play in the Champions' League tournament because they're not really at the same level as the European squads. The best players from Brazil--Ronaldhino, Ronaldo, Ronald, Ron, R--play in Europe, as do some American and African players. But amongst the European leagues there is some parity, which is why it's possible for the Champions League thing to exist at all. MLB's near-monopoly on world talent means that that style tournament just can't work for baseball.

Also, I think that those "All-Star" teams that play against Japanese teams aren't more successful because

1) They're not really trying all that hard
2) They're usually playing in Japan and
3) No, that's it.

Let's take the Red Sox or Yankees or Cardinals, kidnap their families, then tell them they are playing for their families' lives against the best team from Japan. We'll also kidnap the Japanese players' families. I'm willing to bet a lot of money the Japanese don't win.

Neal K said...

So this way-back when dinosours roamed the earth (not dinosaurs, but dinosours, those delicious candies) Canada actually used to use this system to pick teams for the World Hockey Championships. They'd send the top amateur team to play against all the all-star teams from the other countries. In 1955 the Penticton Vees, the team from my hometown of about 30,000 got to represent Canada and defeated the Soviets to become World Champions.


But just like many people in the world could care less about baseball, many people could care less about hockey, so I'll bring it back around to the subject at hand.

Would this mean they'd have to drop the pretense of calling the World Series champions "World Champions"?
As a replacement title, I suggest "Dinosour Champions."

Andrew Missel said...

Just to defend MLB a little:

The title "World Champion" and the name "World Series" date back to the early 20th century, when professional baseball really didn't exist in any other country. Now, it is true that nowadays there are plenty of professional baseball leagues all over the world, from Australia to Japan and beyond. None have the history, talent pool, or international appeal of MLB. 50% of the league's continuing use of the term "World Series" may be good old fashioned American arrogance; the other 50% is sober fact. That being said, it should probably be changed, though to what I don't know.

Neal K said...

I do.

It should be changed to "Dinosour Champions"