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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Barra: The World Baseball Classic: Where America Getting Creamed is a Good Thing, Apparently

Allen Barra: Cream’s Profiles.

My question is: Why does Bud Selig, commissioner of the American major leagues, give a hoot about “the internationalization of the sport?” Does he think this will help produce more talent for American pro teams, the way the increased popularity of basketball in Spain and France has produced top players like Pau Gasol and Tony Parker? Or does he think that the internationalization of the game is going to lead to him, Bud Selig, being elected commissioner of all the world’s professional baseball leagues?

Simply put, what does he mean by “our vehicle?” Who exactly is the “our”—the American team owners who keep grumbling about having their star player miss spring training and risk injury while playing in games that mean nothing to management? (And it just isn’t American-born players who are the concern of American team owners, but their players who are playing for the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and other international teams.)

“Overall, you’ll look back on this in retrospect someday and realize that you’re watching a sport that is going to be legitimately worldwide.” But what is baseball now, illegitimately worldwide? Japan has won the two previous WBCs, Cuba and South Korea were runners-up, and Venezuela and the Dominican Republic finished in the top four. There have been, over the past six years, increasingly tough teams from Taiwan, Australia, Italy and Spain.

What exactly does this signify if not the “internationalization” of baseball?

Repoz Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:24 AM | 191 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: wbc

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   1. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:09 AM (#4387473)
you’ll look back on this in retrospect someday

As opposed to looking forward in retrospect...
   2. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:13 AM (#4387477)
back on this in retrospect


I know, don't you hate that! I don't know how many times I've heard or seen in print something like "I bought a shirt, but I don't like it so I'm going to return it back to the store."
   3. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:31 AM (#4387483)
Americans truly are the most provincial boobs on Earth.

USA vs. Dominican Republic tomorrow for a trip to the final four in SF. First meeting between these two ever in the classic. Hownany baseball fan could not want to watch is very odd to me...
   4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4387485)
WJ - I really don't understand how baseball fans don't like this tournament. I can understand the arguments against it (injury concerns, etc..) but these things happen in Spring Training games too. I've said it before and I'll keep beating it to death; baseball is great thus the WBC is great.
   5. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4387486)
Japan has won the two previous WBCs, Cuba and South Korea were runners-up, and Venezuela and the Dominican Republic finished in the top four. There have been, over the past six years, increasingly tough teams from Taiwan, Australia, Italy and Spain.

What has Canada got to do to get a mention? They've, you know, shown up to all three tournaments. That's gotta be worth something!
   6. Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:42 AM (#4387489)
My question is: Why does Bud Selig, commissioner of the American major leagues, give a hoot about “the internationalization of the sport?”
Generally speaking, the answer to "why is a for-profit business doing that?" is they think it's a worthwhile financial move. I notice Barra doesn't mention that as a possible reason.

I think it probably is an excellent long-term investment. There are billions of people who aren't in traditional baseball countries, and even if you convert a small percentage of them, that's a bunch of potential income. If anything, I'd argue that MLB should spend more time and money on internationalizing the sport than they already do. Their financial support for the Australian League is a good start, but I'd like to see them help the Dutch and Italian leagues to grow and improve. What could it possibly cost the owners, split 30 ways? The price of a crappy utility guy?
   7. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4387490)
I can understand the arguments against it (injury concerns, etc..) but these things happen in Spring Training games too.


HOFer Ryne Sandberg, at the peak of his powers, had his career effectively ended by a spring training injury.
   8. zonk Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4387492)
WJ - I really don't understand how baseball fans don't like this tournament. I can understand the arguments against it (injury concerns, etc..) but these things happen in Spring Training games too. I've said it before and I'll keep beating it to death; baseball is great thus the WBC is great.


I was having the same argument with a colleague last week -- he's a huge baseball fan, but hasn't watched a since WBC game and couldn't care less about it. I don't understand the mindset - it's baseball in early March where the scores actually count. He said he'd rather watch a spring training game... I watch spring games, too, if that's all I've got available, but if you have a game with recognizable players actually trying to win (minus Joe Torre, I guess), why wouldn't you choose the latter?

There's plenty I wish was different about the WBC, but I'd much rather have it in its current form than not at all.
   9. bobm Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4387493)
WJ - I really don't understand how baseball fans don't like this tournament. I can understand the arguments against it (injury concerns, etc..) but these things happen in Spring Training games too. I've said it before and I'll keep beating it to death; baseball is great thus the WBC is great.

Solely from an American fan's perspective, I think that holding the WBC in the Spring makes fans far less likely to care than if it were held in a warm weather site in the late Fall after the World Series. Most fans will pay less attention to a new event like WBC than Spring Training, and they don't pay much attention to Spring Training exhibition games.
   10. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4387494)
There are billions of people who aren't in traditional baseball countries, and even if you convert a small percentage of them, that's a bunch of potential income.


If we can get China to go baseball crazy, there will be a golden era for second basemen, the likes of which we have never seen.
   11. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:07 AM (#4387500)
I enjoy watching the WBC but don't take it very seriously. If the MLB playoffs are akin to a crapshoot, then you may as will be playing rock, paper, scissor during this tournament.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:21 AM (#4387507)
I'm with #11. Its cool, I like seeing international competition, but I can't put this on par with the World Series.
   13. morineko Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4387513)
The WBC is just a replacement for the Olympics, except that actual MLB players get to participate and the US team isn't made up of minor leaguers and the occasional college player. It's not the World Series but it gives you a chance to see other countries' pros (or the pros you remember from MLB and the minors who end up playing in Asia, which applies to a lot of the non-USA Western pitchers in this tournament.)
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4387518)
Americans truly are the most provincial boobs on Earth.

USA vs. Dominican Republic tomorrow for a trip to the final four in SF. First meeting between these two ever in the classic. How any baseball fan could not want to watch is very odd to me...


Maybe it's just because we've already seen the best Dominican players in the Majors, playing for teams we actually care about, and because some of us don't give a #### about who wins a series of exhibition games involving fly-by-night "teams" whose rosters are often padded by ethnicity rather than citizenship. OTOH I can see why Dominicans would see it as big deal.

AFAIC there's one benefit to the WBC, period: It might make scouting for MLB teams a bit easier.
   15. zack Posted: March 13, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4387519)
Is it just me, or are the WBC games incredibly long? I've been watching most of the night games, and the average game has been over 3.5 hours, with none under 3 hours. Yes, they're high scoring. But it seems like the commercial breaks are also interminably long. Conspiratorially so?
   16. zonk Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4387522)
Is it just me, or are the WBC games incredibly long? I've been watching most of the night games, and the average game has been over 3.5 hours, with none under 3 hours. Yes, they're high scoring. But it seems like the commercial breaks are also interminably long. Conspiratorially so?


I think -- especially for teams with pitchers who would normally be in spring training right now -- it really has a lot to do with pitching changes... I've tivoed most and sped through the commercials, but I think the game times are a function of the more-than-normal number of pitching changes (normal vs a regular season game).
   17. John Northey Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4387524)
I wonder how much more the average American might care if the US team actually could, you know, win a few games. I think if the US made it to the finals in one of the past ones then a bit more national pride might be on the line and get people more excited. When the US teams flops out before the semi's each time (and nearly ended up having to qualify for the next one) it takes away a lot of interest because then fans just go 'well, players dont care obviously so why should I'. Meanwhile players for other countries fight as hard as they can to win each game, taking pride because they know people assume the US is #1 and other countries want to prove they are just as good if not better. Japan takes tons of pride obviously, Canadian players do too (with the obvious exception of the catcher who wants to be a shortstop) and I suspect the same is true for other countries. Remember a few years back when Roger Clemens wanted to play for team USA in the Olympics? That is the attitude we need to make this become big in the US.

However, the #1 goal is to make it big everywhere else. To make it so MLB teams can sell merchandise in places like Europe. That is the big plus of getting a couple of European teams into the 2nd round this year as it cannot hurt to show people in those countries that their athletes can compete with the best (even if many are US players who have some tie to those countries). Hopefully someday the US fans will get into international competition outside of the Olympics.
   18. I Am Not a Number Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4387525)
"I bought a shirt, but I don't like it so I'm going to return it back to the store."

How about "Can you repeat that again?".

Or "revert back to".
   19. Rusty Priske Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4387526)
Are me too posts okay?

#13 got it exactly right.

This is the Olympics but better.
   20. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4387528)
I bought a shirt, but I don't like it so I'm going to return it back to the store."

How about "Can you repeat that again?".

Or "revert back to".


That's all past history.
   21. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4387530)
He said he'd rather watch a spring training game... I watch spring games, too, if that's all I've got available, but if you have a game with recognizable players actually trying to win (minus Joe Torre, I guess), why wouldn't you choose the latter?


A lot of fans root for the team, not the players or the game. I suspect he'd rather watch spring training because he could see his team play. The current US team in the WBC was collected out of nowhere and will disperse to nowhere after the tournament. Sure, some people like rooting for the red, white and blue no matter the faces, but that's not true of everyone.
   22. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4387538)
That's all past history.

"I forgot my PIN number for the ATM machine."
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4387557)
WJ - I really don't understand how baseball fans don't like this tournament.


It's spring training, only worse. If they were going all out to win it -- and by "they" I mean the real players, those talented enough to be in the majors -- then I'd care. But as it is now, you've got a bunch of no talent hacks who couldn't make the majors or are fringe players going all out -- sliding hard into bases, calling for batters to be hit, etc. -- while the real major leaguers who bothered to show up are taking it easy and trying not to get hurt.

That's my problem.

The managers responsible for major leaguers are taking it easy with those players, and the major leaguers are simply prepping for the real games and trying not to get hurt. Running counter to that are jackasses who are sliding hard into second basemen and calling for batters to be beaned.

Half the players are trying like hell, and half the players are scrimmaging, and we're just hoping none of the real players get injured, and the whole thing is an utter farce. You've got two tiers of players: talentless hacks trying as hard as they can, and talented players just trying not to get hurt by the talentless hacks. Why anyone would be interested in this foolishness, I have no idea. This is not baseball. Baseball is when everyone on the field has similar goals and incentives.

Teams who are sending good major leaguers to this - no, Nick Punto, not you - ought to have their heads examined.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:57 AM (#4387566)
Ray, I'm not sure I get your point. Could you restate it again?
   25. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4387568)
Ray, I'm not sure I get your point. Could you restate it again?


He hates puppies
   26. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4387569)
The Caribbean World Series has the best of both worlds: national pride and real teams.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4387570)
talentless hacks trying as hard as they can, and talented players just trying not to get hurt by the talentless hacks.


This sounds more entertaining than both talentless hacks and talented players not really trying, which is what spring training is.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4387575)
Any tournament where many of the best players available don't show up, and those who do don't all have the same purpose, is pretty pointless.

   29. Steve Treder Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4387577)
You know what else is pointless? Fun. No one should bother to have any.
   30. bunyon Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4387578)
He said he'd rather watch a spring training game... I watch spring games, too, if that's all I've got available, but if you have a game with recognizable players actually trying to win (minus Joe Torre, I guess), why wouldn't you choose the latter?

I've seen plenty of regular posters on this board state they aren't watching the playoffs after their team is eliminated. Or stop when their team is out of it. It boggles my mind, but, clearly, most "baseball" fans are fans of a particular team, not the sport. The same goes for people who don't want to watch baseball at a level lower than the majors.

I'm a purist old fart, I suppose, but I'll watch any baseball game between any well matched groups anywhere, anytime. There is nothing finer than sitting out on a warm summer night watching a game - being it the 27 Yankees or a little league game.

Given all that, I'm interested in the WBC and have enjoyed the games I've seen. But the simple fact is, there is a lot on everyone's plate. I can only set out large chunks of time for watching sports on TV a few times a year. The WBC, thus far, doesn't get that from me.

And, yes, the games are too damned long.
   31. base ball chick Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4387581)
why would bud selig care?

this is a question? good grief. when there are questions concerning bud selig, there is only 1 answer - follow the money. all he cares about is getting more $$$ for the owners and this WBC increases money coming in from mlbam.

it's that simple

as for why don't americans care?
about what?
watching games on a channel most of us don't have in the middle of the night?
watching players we usually get to watch during the season for 6-7 months

and lots of us don't like DH ball
   32. Tschingsch Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4387583)
It always seems like those who have this seemingly intense hatred for the WBC have never actually watched one of the games, and things like evidence are discarded. The players don't care and aren't trying? "no talent hacks calling for players to be hit" - you mean the starting 3rd baseman for the Dodgers is a no-talent fringe player?

The 2009 Dominican Republic / Netherlands elimination game is one of the greatest games I've ever watched, and I have MLB Network pretty much exclusively on my TV year round, watched nearly every MLB playoff game in the last 20 years, been to a World Series clincher, a no-hitter, and the A-Rod/Varitek fight game. Some of the WBC games this year will be the best games of the year. If you're not interested in the WBC, that's fine. But the hatred for it some people seem to have is just silly.
   33. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4387586)
Why does Bud Selig, commissioner of the American major leagues, give a hoot about “the internationalization of the sport?” Does he think this will help produce more talent for American pro teams, the way the increased popularity of basketball in Spain and France has produced top players like Pau Gasol and Tony Parker? Or does he think that the internationalization of the game is going to lead to him, Bud Selig, being elected commissioner of all the world’s professional baseball leagues?


"The internationalization of the sport" means "we want to be world wide like soccer is world wide." There is only one truly international sport, and that is soccer. Baseball is trying to create a World Cup type event to pull more nations into baseball. MLB and other independent leagues are supporting that because individual leagues benefit from the heightened profile of the game itself. The EPL supports the World Cup because it's good for the EPL when millions of humans love soccer. La Liga supports the World Cup because it's beneficial to them to have millions of Lionel Messi fans following Barca.

MLB supports the WBC because MLB wants baseball to be the next big thing after soccer, because it's beneficial to MLB to have millions of Japanese fans following Ichiro! MLB wants millions of Argentines to follow someone from Argentina in MLB too. And MLB really, really wants the NBA to be third in line, rather than second in line, as is the case today with internationalized sports.
   34. puck Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4387589)
Do spring training games get that many viewers, either? It would seem there's a lot of baseball fans who aren't watching spring training or the WBC. Root Sports Rocky Mountain doesn't even bother to televise most of the Rockies' spring training games.
   35. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4387590)
My personal thought is that the WBC is one programming option out of thousands that is watched by some people and not by others.
   36. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4387591)
Root Sports Rocky Mountain doesn't even bother to televise most of the Rockies' spring training games.


I can't even find DODGERS spring training games on TV.
   37. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4387594)
World Cup type event - or Olympics replacement (where MLB has more control over the rules, rather than an obstinant IOC).

It's really fun baseball.
   38. Dale Sams Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4387597)
watching games on a channel most of us don't have in the middle of the night?


Do cable gremlins steal your service?
   39. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4387610)

Any tournament where many of the best players available don't show up, and those who do don't all have the same purpose, is pretty pointless.


And yet people still watch MLS.
   40. zack Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4387618)
Do cable gremlins steal your service?

MLB Network isn't part of the base package in some/ a lot of places.
   41. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:02 PM (#4387619)
If people didn't watch pointless things, I assume TV wouldn't exist.
   42. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4387620)
MLB Network isn't part of the base package in some/ a lot of places.


I think you missed the joke
   43. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4387621)
There are so many different anti-WBC arguments and all but one of them are stupid.

1) What's the deal? America might not win! What kind of tournament is this, it's just random.

Response: Have you seen the last 40 years of the MLB playoffs?

2) What's the deal? Why are all these teams that suck in here? Who wants to see them?

Response: That's what every international sports tournament is like.

3) This has no tradition.

Response: Yes, things that are new have no tradition. But if it gets to be old, then it will have tradition.

4) The stands aren't full, unless the home team is playing!

Response: That's what every international sports tournament is like, except, literally, the World Cup. And even that had empty seats in South Africa. The stands were half empty at a lot of the Euro 2012 soccer games. The stands are usually 9/10 empty at the African Nations Cup.

5) People aren't watching on TV!

Response: It's on the MLB Network in the middle of the night! What do you want?

6) It's on the MLB Network in the middle of the night! How can we take this seriously?

Response: That's what all international sports tournaments are like. Because of the structure of the solar system, it is the middle of the night in some places, but daylight in others.

7) Players might get injured!

Response: That's what all international sports tournaments are like. Also, players have been known to get injured in spring training.

8) These are exhibition games!

Response: That phrase has no meaning. A game is an exhibition game if people don't care about the outcome. It used to be that MLB teams cared about the outcome of some of their spring training games, for bragging rights or to gain confidence for the season or whatever. Now those are all "exhibition games". This metamorphosis occurred gradually.

9) They aren't playing to win!

Response: That's Joe Torre's fault. Get him out of there. Send him back to the casino autograph circuit.

10) The best players aren't there! They don't take it seriously!

Response: All professional athletes are subject to conflict between playing for the teams that play them, and playing for their country. All young players are concerned that they will fail to establish themselves in their pro careers if they don't prioritize it above all else. All old players are concerned that they might need rest and recuperation instead of playing extra games. Remember how the US basketball team was missing its top 8 frontcourt players or whatever at the 2012 Olympics?

11) Steve Cishek? Samuel Deduno? Come on.

Response: The best PITCHERS aren't there. That's true. This is intrinsic to the sport of baseball, that pitchers need low-stress work in spring training to be prepared for April. Maybe as the WBC gets more history, pitchers will prepare for it.
   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4387623)
7) Players might get injured!

Response: That's what all international sports tournaments are like. Also, players have been known to get injured in spring training.


Are players in spring training games doing take-out slides at second base?

Are they beaning hitters?

   45. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4387625)
I really don't think the typical baseball injury results from an act of aggression between players on the field of play.

Also, sure, in spring training a pitcher might bean a hitter if he thinks he's been breaking one of the unwritten stupid rules, overcelebrating or whatever.
   46. SoSH U at work Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4387629)
Are players in spring training games doing take-out slides at second base?


Occasionally, yes (I'm looking at you Shelley Duncan, you big stupid ass).

Are they beaning hitters?


Occasionally, yes (I'm looking at you TLR, you regular-sized drunken ass).
   47. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4387630)
Are players in spring training games doing take-out slides at second base?

A few years ago, in ST, some a**hole leveled Francisco Cervelli at home plate, putting him out for the season.

Also, no one is doing takeout slides in the WBC. Cano was standing on the base, and Punto slid into the base.
   48. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4387635)
Does he think this will help produce more talent for American pro teams, the way the increased popularity of basketball in Spain and France has produced top players like Pau Gasol and Tony Parker?


Yes, unequivocally, yes he thinks this will happen.

Japan has won the two previous WBCs, Cuba and South Korea were runners-up, and Venezuela and the Dominican Republic finished in the top four. There have been, over the past six years, increasingly tough teams from Taiwan, Australia, Italy and Spain.


And MLB has been more successful because Japan, Cuba, South Korea, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic are interested in and good at baseball. Why wouldn't the same be true as China and Brazil (maybe if he mentioned these two he would have seen how obvious the answer is) become more interested?
   49. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4387644)
increasingly tough teams from Taiwan, Australia, Italy and Spain.

Unfortunately the Spain team is OF Spain, but not FROM Spain.
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4387649)
Unfortunately the Spain team is OF Spain, but not FROM Spain.

How different is this than Soccer's World Cup? Lot's of the European players aren't even ethnically French or German, they just moved there as professional athletes. If the WBC followed World Cup protocols, most of the Dominican team would be playing for the US.
   51. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4387651)
How about "Can you repeat that again?"


This works fine if it follows "Can you repeat that?".
   52. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:42 PM (#4387652)
Lot's of the European players aren't even ethnically French or German, they just moved there as professional athletes.


Sure, they aren't ethnically French or German in the sense of being white, but they were mostly born there or moved there as kids. There are some exceptions, people naturalized as adults based on playing there for a certain number of years (Olisadebe and Eduardo the "Polish" and "Croatian" strikers). Fortunately there hasn't been a controversy yet in which an entire team is made up of mercenaries who were naturalized as adults. Equatorial Guinea has tried to do that but they are still terrible.

Team Spain is more like the opposite scenario, which is the Algerian soccer team whose players are mostly born in France to Algerian immigrants. Except for the WBC it seems like you can go back three generations or more (?) and still qualify for the team of your ancestry. I agree with those who see it as silly and likely to do more harm than good for the real Spanish baseball program.
   53. just plain joe Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4387659)
Do spring training games get that many viewers, either? It would seem there's a lot of baseball fans who aren't watching spring training or the WBC. Root Sports Rocky Mountain doesn't even bother to televise most of the Rockies' spring training games.


I was at home after some surgery last week and I sort of watched several exhibition games. Part of it was that I just got MLB TV and was curious and part of it was that this time of year I want to see some baseball. I watched parts of several of the WBC games and they were okay, but I would much rather watch an MLB game.

Team Spain is more like the opposite scenario, which is the Algerian soccer team whose players are mostly born in France to Algerian immigrants. Except for the WBC it seems like you can go back three generations or more (?) and still qualify for the team of your ancestry. I agree with those who see it as silly and likely to do more harm than good for the real Spanish baseball program.


I think you qualify for membership on the Italian national baseball team if your last name ends in a vowel.
   54. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM (#4387660)
I agree with those who see it as silly and likely to do more harm than good for the real Spanish baseball program.


It depends on how Spain (and also the countries where those players are actually from) respond to any success from the Spanish team. The goal right now isn't to develop the best current baseball players in Spain, but to create interest in the form of both more money for facilities and more of the next generation looking to play baseball instead of soccer.
   55. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4387664)
I think there's a huge difference between the Spanish team (no actual Spanish players) and the Italian team (a few actual Italian players). Is someone playing youth baseball in Spain going to look at this team and aspire to be there with them? They're likely to be more discouraged than encouraged.

"Even the best Spanish player apparently isn't as good as random Dominican and Cuban rejects".

Maybe I'm wrong about this.
   56. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:15 PM (#4387674)
Is someone playing youth baseball in Spain going to look at this team and aspire to be there with them? They're likely to be more discouraged than encouraged.


It's a tough balancing act. I think seeing a team with the name "Spain" across the front actually in the big event makes up for a lot of that.

I try to think of the same situation with America and the World Cup. Would anyone but a few die-hards in this country care if America couldn't field a team that was capable of qualifying? But when America scored first against England, and got the game-winner against Algeria, there were packed bars that went nuts, filled with people who couldn't tell you one bit of biographical information about anyone on the roster.
   57. Dale Sams Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:21 PM (#4387676)
Does England even try? You'd think they could field a team similar to Italy, or is it to similar to Rounders to even bother?
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4387681)
I think you qualify for membership on the Italian national baseball team if your last name ends in a vowel.


I think there's a huge difference between the Spanish team (no actual Spanish players) and the Italian team (a few actual Italian players).

I think the real problem (for some of us, at least) is the whole idea of taking players we've come to know as Major Leaguers and scattering them to the winds, depending on a player's citizenship (not a great idea, but at least somewhat understandable), his ethnicity (extremely dubious), or a grandfather clause (just plain moronic). But then I have no idea how soccer fans think, either, and they seem to have no problem with any of this.

If the WBC works to "grow the game," that's great, I guess, if it means that we'll see even more foreign players coming over to play in the Majors as a result of their exposure to an audience of scouts and agents. But I'd be infinitely more interested in seeing the Giants play a postseason World Series with the champions of the Nippon League, or (even better) against a worldwide All-Star team made up of non-MLB players. That would be the only way I could ever develop any sort of a rooting interest in any game outside of MLB as we now know it.
   59. Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:30 PM (#4387685)
Is someone playing youth baseball in Spain going to look at this team and aspire to be there with them? They're likely to be more discouraged than encouraged.
I know that as a young American soccer player in the 1980s, it didn't even occur to me that Hugo Perez was really Salvadoran, Frank Klopas was really Greek, and Angelo DiBernardo was really Argentinian. All I knew - and, honestly, all I cared about - was that they were part of the United States national team, and I wanted to play for that team one day.

Alas, I've had to settle for being a good but not great goalkeeper in a local coed Over-30 indoor league. C'est la vie.

The fact that there exists a Spanish national baseball team, and it plays in tournaments against the top players from other nations, and that a young kid from Zaragoza could grow up to represent his country...that's a hell of an inspiration. Would it be better if the team was made up of honest-to-gosh Spaniards? Yeah, sure. Does the fact that the team exists and plays in the WBC make it more likely that one day there will be dozens of players from Spain capable of playing at a high level?

I'd say it does.
   60. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4387688)
I think the real problem (for some of us, at least) is the whole idea of taking players we've come to know as Major Leaguers and scattering them to the winds, depending on a player's citizenship (not a great idea, but at least somewhat understandable), his ethnicity (extremely dubious), or a grandfather clause (just plain moronic). But then I have no idea how soccer fans think, either, and they seem to have no problem with any of this.


OK, if you want to argue against the very concept of sports competitions between nations, we have to back up a bit.
   61. depletion Posted: March 13, 2013 at 01:54 PM (#4387704)
I prefer to the WBC played in spring rather than after the World Series. The NFL Pro Bowl used to be played after the Super Bowl and had zero TV viewers. Most people get burnt out after a full season of sports TV viewing.

Ray, re #44, there have been bench clearing brawls in spring training, although not many.
I like the WBC. It will probably continue unless, after several years they find poorer participation from the non-traditional baseball countries (Latin America, Japan, Korea). I'm pretty sure China is the prize in the back of Bud's mind. If baseball makes it in China, partly because of the WBC, it will increase revenue a lot and be well worth all the aggravation. Bud would be remiss to not try.
   62. Styles P. Deadball Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4387707)
The fact that there exists a Spanish national baseball team, and it plays in tournaments against the top players from other nations, and that a young kid from Zaragoza could grow up to represent his country...that's a hell of an inspiration. Would it be better if the team was made up of honest-to-gosh Spaniards? Yeah, sure. Does the fact that the team exists and plays in the WBC make it more likely that one day there will be dozens of players from Spain capable of playing at a high level?

I'd say it does.


That's been the trend in Olympic hockey. 25 years ago, you saw countries like Austria and Italy playing with 5-10 Canadians married and playing in the Italian league on those national teams. Today, they are much more home-grown. The breakup of the communist bloc created a crapload of teams such as Ukraine, Latvia, and Kazakhstan that are roughly on par with those nations today as hockey powers (so their overall ranking doesn't look much better), but they at least speak the native language on the ice now.

The baseball programs in places like Spain can probably be expected to follow that trajectory.
   63. Srul Itza Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4387709)
all he cares about is getting more $$$ for the owners


That's his job. So he's doing his job. If the Owners or MLB ever sold anyone on the idea that the Commissioner of Baseball was anything other than the front man for the Owners, or that hisjob description is anything other than that, this is a testament to their salesmanship.

That would be the only way I could ever develop any sort of a rooting interest in any game outside of MLB as we now know it.


And after all, at the end of the day, it's all about you, isn't it?

How about "Can you repeat that again?"




This works fine if it follows "Can you repeat that?".


It also works fine, if you respond "That again. That again. That again. Is that enough times?"

   64. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4387714)
I think the real problem (for some of us, at least) is the whole idea of taking players we've come to know as Major Leaguers and scattering them to the winds, depending on a player's citizenship (not a great idea, but at least somewhat understandable), his ethnicity (extremely dubious), or a grandfather clause (just plain moronic). But then I have no idea how soccer fans think, either, and they seem to have no problem with any of this.

Or hockey fans, for most of whom Olympic hockey is a big deal. International events are also among the premier sporting events in cricket, rugby, and any number of other sports.

Now this doesn't mean that baseball fans have to, or should necessarily, care about an international competition like the WBC. But baseball is abnormal in the sporting world for it's lack of high-calibre international play. The concept of the best professional athletes playing for their countries isn't exactly a novel one.
   65. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4387717)
When the primary goal for everyone involved isn't to win, a tournament is DOA.

Whoever heard of an injured player getting a cortisone shot or having his ankle heavily taped so that he can take the field in a WBC game?

But apparently pointing out why the tournament is silly is beyond the pale.
   66. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4387719)
The fact that there exists a Spanish national baseball team, and it plays in tournaments against the top players from other nations, and that a young kid from Zaragoza could grow up to represent his country...that's a hell of an inspiration. Would it be better if the team was made up of honest-to-gosh Spaniards? Yeah, sure. Does the fact that the team exists and plays in the WBC make it more likely that one day there will be dozens of players from Spain capable of playing at a high level?

This was a subject of some heated debate in the UK for the qualifiers. Teams like France and the Czech Republic went with mostly "domestic" teams, while the GB used a lot of Americans. I know at least a few British fans were put off by the fact that they didn't feel like the team they were watching was British.

I'm a bit biased, but I think in the long-run the French and Czechs made the better decision. It's better to have a team your youth can strive to be a part of. (Especially since GB wasn't going to qualify either way, so why not build domestically?)
   67. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4387724)
I'm a bit biased, but I think in the long-run the French and Czechs made the better decision. It's better to have a team your youth can strive to be a part of. (Especially since GH wasn't going to qualify either way, so why not build domestically?)


But what if you are Spain or Italy and can qualify by rostering ringers? If GB somehow made it out of qualifiers, I think the feeling would have been different.
   68. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:21 PM (#4387725)
When the primary goal for everyone involved isn't to win, a tournament is DOA.

Whoever heard of an injured player getting a cortisone shot or having his ankle heavily taped so that he can take the field in a WBC game?


How is it worse than Spring Training (especially for the spectator)?
   69. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4387727)
But what if you are Spain or Italy and can qualify by rostering ringers? If GB somehow made it out of qualifiers, I think the feeling would have been different.

Precisely. I think it's a balancing act for each country that has that option. Baseball in Spain was probably better served by them qualifying.
   70. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4387731)
When the primary goal for everyone involved isn't to win, a tournament is DOA.

Are you aware that sometimes, actual major league teams are playing a game, that people paid to see, but not trying to win?!? For example, sometimes they sit multiple players who might have helped them win, had they played. You can often see this on Sunday.

Whoever heard of an injured player getting a cortisone shot or having his ankle heavily taped so that he can take the field in a WBC game?

Or doing a takeout slide? Or beaning a hitter? Once people start doing that in the WBC, we can take it seriously.
   71. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:26 PM (#4387732)
How is it worse than Spring Training (especially for the spectator)?


I explained this. Some players/managers/teams trying hard to win, while others are just trying not to let the hacks injure them.

That is worse than spring training.

And I wasn't raining on anyone's parade about this until people acted all confused upthread about why more of us weren't interested:

3. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:31 AM (#4387483)

...Hownany baseball fan could not want to watch is very odd to me...


4. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4387485)

WJ - I really don't understand how baseball fans don't like this tournament...


8. zonk Posted: March 13, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4387492)
...
I was having the same argument with a colleague last week -- he's a huge baseball fan, but hasn't watched a since WBC game and couldn't care less about it. I don't understand the mindset
   72. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4387733)
When the primary goal for everyone involved isn't to win


The primary goal for everyone involved in the tournament is to win. It just so happens that the growing of the game internationally will end up being a lot bigger a deal - like what has happened in the NBA the last 20 years.

The 1988 gold medal basketball game featured Sabonis, Petrovic, Kukoc and Divac. And look what happened to basketball in Europe.
   73. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4387737)
Are you aware that sometimes, actual major league teams are playing a game, that people paid to see, but not trying to win?!? For example, sometimes they sit multiple players who might have helped them win, had they played. You can often see this on Sunday.


This is a dumb rebuttal. Resting players during the MLB season is in furtherance of the same team goal that everyone has.
   74. Flynn Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4387739)
The thing about Spain and Italy is they have very liberal citizenship laws. Most of that Spanish team (definitely the ones playing in the Spanish professional league - yes there is one) have Spanish passports, and it's pretty hard to say they can't play for the national team if they can vote in elections. I do think a Third Way as it were of cutting down on the American/Latin American ringers is to force them to actually get the passport rather than letting them play if they're eligible - forcing the Nick Puntos of the world to actually shell out for the paperwork may give them second thoughts. Certainly in Italy's case, it's a bit annoying to see all the ringers. They have a professional league and although they'd do much worse they could easily put out 25 born and raised Italians.


Whoever heard of an injured player getting a cortisone shot or having his ankle heavily taped so that he can take the field in a WBC game?


Haven't Red Sox fans whined for years that Matsuzaka blew out his arm to win the WBC?

I try to think of the same situation with America and the World Cup. Would anyone but a few die-hards in this country care if America couldn't field a team that was capable of qualifying? But when America scored first against England, and got the game-winner against Algeria, there were packed bars that went nuts, filled with people who couldn't tell you one bit of biographical information about anyone on the roster.


Srsly?

Millions of people watch US national team games and the Internet is ablaze every time Jurgen Klinsmann does something stupid. You're damn wrong if you think people would not be anything short of livid if the US failed to qualify (which looks a real possibility given that Klinsmann is more inclined to ship in Germans whose mom f*cked a US army soldier and ##### that Clint Dempsey isn't playing for Real Madrid rather than try and win with the talent he's been given). Millions of people would be enormously upset. And I don't believe at all that most sports fans who watched the World Cup don't know who Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley are. Maybe your Eric Lichaj's of the world could walk down most main streets unmolested but there's more than enough soccer fans to recognize Landycakes sashaying out of whatever commune he's finding his chi at now.



   75. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4387744)
I explained this. Some players/managers/teams trying hard to win, while others are just trying not to let the hacks injure them.

That is worse than spring training.


When the MLB teams play local college teams in spring training, the latter are often trying hard to win.
   76. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4387747)

I explained this. Some players/managers/teams trying hard to win, while others are just trying not to let the hacks injure them.

That is worse than spring training.


I guess it's a matter of taste - because even your erroneous description (the people not trying to get injured are also trying somewhat to win) is better to watch than spring training games for me (and others).
   77. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4387749)
But apparently pointing out why the tournament is silly is beyond the pale.

Of course it's silly. The comparisons with the real international tournaments is inapposite as those have an organic tradition far predating the modern era wherein sports are primarily TV content and a vehicle to sell ####.

And that's what the WBC is and what it was born as -- TV content and a vehicle to sell ####. It's a silly, jerryrigged event.
   78. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4387752)
And that's what the WBC is and what it was born as -- TV content and a vehicle to sell ####. It's a silly, jerryrigged event.

How does this differ from any professional sporting event ever? (aside from the invention of the television).

EDIT: And professional involvement in Olympic hockey doesn't pre-date television or the modern era. Do the rules not apply to that, or is that also a silly event?
   79. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4387753)
#77 was covered in part 3 of my list of stupid arguments above.
   80. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4387755)
Well, even though the thread has devolved into a bunch of people whining about the WBC and other people trying to defend it, i will answer the headline.

Yes, the WBC is better served if the US loses. I'm from the US, and i'm cheering for the team but in the back of my head, i realize that it will matter way less to me if we win than people from these other countries. So i am fine saying that yes, it would be good for the US to lose the WBC. I feel the same way about the world cup. Why win tournaments that the country doesn't care about, just to give ray another chance to whine?
   81. SoSH U at work Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4387759)
Whoever heard of an injured player getting a cortisone shot or having his ankle heavily taped so that he can take the field in a WBC game?


You sound like a guy who must love and fetishize baseball's postseason more than anything else. You should see the crazy #### some guys will do to be able to play in that thing. Can you believe some people here refer to the playoffs as "an exhibition?"

   82. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4387760)

Srsly?

Millions of people watch US national team games and the Internet is ablaze every time Jurgen Klinsmann does something stupid. You're damn wrong if you think people would not be anything short of livid if the US failed to qualify (which looks a real possibility given that Klinsmann is more inclined to ship in Germans whose mom f*cked a US army soldier and ##### that Clint Dempsey isn't playing for Real Madrid rather than try and win with the talent he's been given). Millions of people would be enormously upset. And I don't believe at all that most sports fans who watched the World Cup don't know who Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley are. Maybe your Eric Lichaj's of the world could walk down most main streets unmolested but there's more than enough soccer fans to recognize Landycakes sashaying out of whatever commune he's finding his chi at now.


Because of previous success of the team. Look at #59. Maybe I misspoke. I'm not saying people wouldn't care if we didn't qualify. But if that we routinely fielded the roster that Canada does in soccer, this country would never get to the point where every dumb move that Klinsmann makes gets micro-analyzed like it does. And I can tell you, with absolute certainty because I was sitting there with them in 2010, most of those people at the bars didn't know those four names until the ESPN graphic popped up telling them that, yeah, those are the important guys. They know them now because they've been told, and they'll be scratching their heads when they don't see them in 2018.
   83. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4387763)
#77 was covered in part 3 of my list of stupid arguments above.

Your strawman was that the event doesn't have tradition. But what I was explaining is that the event can never have tradition. Unlike the real international competitions, it wasn't birthed as a sporting event for the sake of sport.
   84. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:54 PM (#4387764)
Look, you guys, there are three reasons why the WBC is a bad idea.

1) Players aren't trying to win. It's a bunch of glorified exhibition games.

2) Players are trying to win, which is inappropriate in an exhibition game. They need to rest for the real games.

3) Players are sort of trying to win, but not hard enough. This leads to injuries when someone who has calibrated his Win Desire Module at 90% collides with someone at 40%.
   85. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4387768)
Yes, the WBC is better served if the US loses. I'm from the US, and i'm cheering for the team but in the back of my head, i realize that it will matter way less to me if we win than people from these other countries. So i am fine saying that yes, it would be good for the US to lose the WBC. I feel the same way about the world cup. Why win tournaments that the country doesn't care about, just to give ray another chance to whine?


This proves my point. People don't care if the team they are rooting for wins, and even want it to lose, for charity purposes.

How condescending.

"You won a tournament that not only did we not care about, but we wanted you to win it because we feel sorry for you. Congratulations!"

   86. vivaelpujols Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:01 PM (#4387773)
I personally don't care about the WBC or spring training. Gun to my head I'd rather watch a spring training game because it's full of players that I know and it has some relevance on the regular season (to who makes the rosters).

I'm not a huge fan of watching baseball in isolation, unless it's a team that I have a vested interest in (like the Cardinals, or the Angels when Pujols is batting, or my brother's little league games, or a good pitching matchup). I'm more interested in the overall strategy of the full season, the playoff arcs and the stats. So seeing individual games where the stats don't count and there's a bunch of players I don't know or care about is not very exciting for me.
   87. Greg K Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4387777)
Your strawman was that the event doesn't have tradition. But what I was explaining is that the event can never have tradition. Unlike the real international competitions, it wasn't birthed as a sporting event for the sake of sport.

This seems like an awfully romantic perception of whichever international competitions we're talking about. Which are what? The present day Olympic Hockey which dates back to those idyllic days of 1998. I don't know much about the beginnings of World Cup Soccer, or international test match cricket, but I'm pretty sure someone made sure they made a buck off of those too.

I guess I'm just having trouble following the details behind the rhetoric. How exactly do you see the WBC proceeding? A couple more iterations with dwindling interest until they just call the thing off? An event that garners marginal interest and is just propped up by Selig and company? Not that I don't think those are possible outcomes, but is this a prediction that the WBC will die out? Or an assertion that those who do find enjoyment in it are deluding themselves?
   88. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4387789)
But what I was explaining is that the event can never have tradition. Unlike the real international competitions, it wasn't birthed as a sporting event for the sake of sport.


The origin of something doesn't preclude it from eventually having tradition.
   89. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4387809)
I don't know much about the beginnings of World Cup Soccer, or international test match cricket, but I'm pretty sure someone made sure they made a buck off of those too.

Several soccer World Cups were played before it started to gather momentum and meaning. The first one was played in 1930, but the majority of folks would say 1950 was the first 'real' one that seemed like it mattered to most everyone.

It does take a while. Maybe if you wanted to follow soccer's lead, you could cancel the next two WBCs and make folks clamor to bring it back (the World Cup was not played in 1942 and 1946, you can probably guess the reason).
   90. Flynn Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4387817)
Even then they only had 13 teams in 1950. It was just the first time with the British.

1954 was the first time Uruguay (the first World Cup winners, and the champions in 1950) sent a team to Europe, so I'm calling 1954 as the first proper World Cup.
   91. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4387819)
the World Cup was not played in 1942 and 1946, you can probably guess the reason).


So Hitler did do some good things.






Actually, I like soccer. Just not as much as making soccer fans mad.
   92. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 13, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4387821)
I think the real problem (for some of us, at least) is the whole idea of taking players we've come to know as Major Leaguers and scattering them to the winds, depending on a player's citizenship (not a great idea, but at least somewhat understandable), his ethnicity (extremely dubious), or a grandfather clause (just plain moronic). But then I have no idea how soccer fans think, either, and they seem to have no problem with any of this.

OK, if you want to argue against the very concept of sports competitions between nations, we have to back up a bit.


If all the teams were (a) 100% "national" and not stocked with ringers**, (b) and fully stocked with the best available talent, then that'd be one thing. But that's not what the WBC is. When people talk about "trying", that involves more than just the individual effort of players. It involves having all of your healthy best players on board. That way the results might actually mean something more than they do for the WBC, where neither of the above two conditions apply.

**Off-season residence should at the very minimum be required for participation on any national team.

------------------------------------------------

Or hockey fans, for most of whom Olympic hockey is a big deal. International events are also among the premier sporting events in cricket, rugby, and any number of other sports.

Now this doesn't mean that baseball fans have to, or should necessarily, care about an international competition like the WBC. But baseball is abnormal in the sporting world for it's lack of high-calibre international play. The concept of the best professional athletes playing for their countries isn't exactly a novel one.


But baseball is also an anomaly in that it's the one "international" sport where there's one "national" Major League that's universally acknowledged to leave all other Major Leagues in the dust.** Not that there aren't large numbers of great players in many of those other leagues, but the overall level of competition is dwarfed by ours, especially since we've been poaching the best players from those countries.

Again, I can see other countries getting fired up about their various David vs Goliath triumphs, but in its existing format I just can't see the big deal about it from the POV of a U.S. fan who needs to have a rooting interest in a team to get interested in watching, and doesn't get that rooting interest from the mere presence of "USA" on the jersey.

** North American football isn't "international" on anything but the spectator level.
   93. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4387825)
the World Cup was not played in 1942 and 1946, you can probably guess the reason).

Actually, that's not true at all, at least not for 1942.
   94. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4387837)
Ray - I get your point in number 71. My point in #3 (and elsewhere that I've made similar comments) is not that people should watch the WBC just that I think they'd want to.

Yes, there are a number of frustrating things about the tournament. The people who don't play is disappointing and the lineup decisions based on getting people at bats or innings pitched is similarly annoying. At the same time the people on the field are to my eye giving an honest effort.

I just think you are missing out. Presumably you enjoy baseball and this is competitive baseball. Worrying about a few things that could be improved rather than enjoying the games themselves I think is self-defeating. I wish Mike Trout was there but he's not and rather than spending a bunch of time worrying about it I'm going to cheer on the guys that are there.

Baseball is great. This is baseball being played competitively and therefore it is great. If you let yourself get bothered by the little things I think you are robbing yourself of something fun. It's not perfect, but if you are a baseball fan it's fun.
   95. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4387840)
But baseball is also an anomaly in that it's the one "international" sport where there's one "national" Major League that's universally acknowledged to leave all other Major Leagues in the dust.**


What about basketball?
   96. Ebessan Posted: March 13, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4387850)
But baseball is also an anomaly in that it's the one "international" sport where there's one "national" Major League that's universally acknowledged to leave all other Major Leagues in the dust.

This is completely untrue for both hockey and basketball. And actually, when you consider that the KHL as a whole certainly isn't as highly regarded and as nationally important in Russia as NPB is in Japan, it might actually be even less correct.
   97. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4387858)
I just think you are missing out. Presumably you enjoy baseball and this is competitive baseball.


This is a fraud. Not everyone is competing towards the same goal. You cannot have a meaningful tournament with such wildly disparate goals, efforts, and dynamics at play. The participants and others can talk all they want about how "It Counts." But everyone knows that it doesn't. Everyone knows that it *can't*.

If I beat LeBron James in h-o-r-s-e because his hands are tied behind his back and he's forced to shoot with his feet, I have not done anything meaningful.

Worrying about a few things that could be improved rather than enjoying the games themselves I think is self-defeating. I wish Mike Trout was there but he's not and rather than spending a bunch of time worrying about it I'm going to cheer on the guys that are there.


But the Trouts of the world not being there is one of the main problems. And why isn't Trout there? Because he doesn't belong on the field? Because his team didn't make it? Because he's injured? No. He's not there so he can take BP and get game reps in somewhere else without worrying about all of the attendant manufactured fabricated nonsense. He's not there so that he can shag fly balls, run through drills, get his work in, and get PAs elsewhere, in peace.
   98. cmd600 Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4387859)
Not everyone is competing towards the same goal


This is only true if we admit that MLB teams are not competing toward the same goal. The Astros (trying to completely rebuild) have a different goal than the Indians (claw back to being competitive) than the Yankees (WS or bust). Spain wants to win as much as the Astros do, but both know that the long-term goals are a lot more reachable than the short-term ones and are adjusting to hit the goals they can.
   99. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4387861)
This is only true if we admit that MLB teams are not competing toward the same goal. The Astros (trying to completely rebuild) have a different goal than the Indians (claw back to being competitive) than the Yankees (WS or bust).


This is false, misleading, and, basically nonsense. The Astros have the exact same goal as the Indians as the other 28 teams: to win a championship. The Astros recognize that it can't be done this year, so they have a different plan than the Angels. But the ultimate goal is the same, and is the primary goal.

In the WBC, in stark contrast, the primary goal for managers of real players is to keep the real players healthy while allowing them to get some work in, and if the team wins the thing under those constraints, great.
   100. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4387862)
*flip*
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