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World Baseball Classic Newsbeat

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jeremy Guthrie: Let’s Make International Baseball Awesome

Step 1: Use the World Cup as the model
The World Baseball Classic is great, but who wouldn’t want to see it go to the next level and approach the hype of soccer’s World Cup? Right now, the WBC takes place in March during spring training, so the best players in the world have a bunch of easy (and good) excuses for why they can’t participate. As commissioner of MLB, I want to grow the game globally by showcasing the sport and giving players from around the world the chance to compete against the best talent. The only way to do that is to give the world a reason to stop what they’re doing for a week-and-a-half and watch the absolute best of the best compete at the highest level.

So we’re moving the tournament to July when everyone is in peak form. Once every four years, we’ll substitute the traditional All-Star week for the World Cup of Baseball. Just like the NHL does for the Olympics, we’re putting the season on a very slight hold. I can hear the complaints already, “But that’s too long of a break! What am I going to do?” Here’s an idea: Take batting practice. Play catch with your kid. Take a SUMMER vacation. Do whatever you want. You’ve been playing baseball every day for five months straight. You could use a break.

Once every four years, we’ll substitute the traditional All-Star week for the World Cup of Baseball.

My proposal requires only nine days. Like the soccer World Cup, we’ll select one host country for every tournament. To make things more competitive, we’ll narrow down the WBC field from 16 teams to eight through pre-qualifying rounds during spring training (if Australia or Italy doesn’t make it, it’s just more incentive for them to qualify for the next World Cup). When the action picks up in July, we’ll play traditional round-robin groups to get us to a Final Four. The semis will be single elimination, but the Finals will be a best-of-three series. This will give the Finals more of a traditional baseball feel with a series, versus a single game to decide a World Champion.

 


 

 

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