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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Looking into Classic’s future, MLB sees growth

The tournament drew a record 781,429 fans since it began in Asia on March 2, played to huge international television audiences, and Brosnan said it will certainly be back for its fourth running in 2017.

“The Commissioner is 1,000-percent committed,” Brosnan said.

Mainstream baseball countries Mexico, Canada, Venezuela and Korea were all knocked out in the first round, but only Mexico will have to qualify for the tournament in 2017.

In that matter, Brosnan promised more teams and more qualifiers.

“There’s a thousand possibilities,” Brosnan said. “There are going to be competitions in the intervening years because it’s going to grow larger. The intention is to play the championship every four years, but we might see more qualifiers two years from now. This tournament is just going to continue to grow.”

2 years? As in, 2015 in addition to 2016 for qualifiers? How big are they going to make it? I’m intrigued…

Gamingboy Posted: March 20, 2013 at 02:48 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: international, wbc, world baseball classic

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   1. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: March 20, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4393069)
Eventually, you may see continental qualifiers, like they do in World Cup soccer. Being a complete nut-case, I've already mapped it out...

The 2017 World Baseball Classic Final Tournament will involve 30 teams, from each of the five IBAF federations:

North and South America: 12
Asia: 8
Europe: 7
Oceania: 2
Africa: 1
(These numbers are based on the teams in the current IBAF Top 30)

12 teams will automatically qualify for the Final Tournament: the final 8 from 2013 (CUB, USA, JPN, TPE, NED, ITA, PUR, DOM) plus the next 4 highest-rated teams (KOR, CAN, VEN, AUS). (Sorry, Mexico.) This leaves 18 available "slots" that everyone else will play for:

North and South America: 6
Asia: 5
Europe: 5
Oceania: 1
Africa: 1

Continental playoffs will be held in 2016. (Europe and Asia already have continental "cup" competitions for national teams; these can double as WBC qualifiers.)

The Final Tournament is split into three parts:

1) Opening Round, 30 teams, held in March.
Six pools of five teams each, held in the Top 6 nations in the IBAF rankings (except Cuba): USA, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Canada and the Netherlands. Double round-robin, 10 games per team.
Top three qualify for pool playoff: 2 vs 3, winner plays 1.
EDIT: I didn't plan it this way, but the total number of games played in the Opening Round is 150 + 12 pool playoff games = 162. Miraculous!

2) "The Big Six", held in July (replaces the All-Star Break).
Single round robin, 5 games per team.
Top four qualify for semifinals.
(Also, the Big Six, plus the next six highest-ranked teams, automatically qualify for 2021.)

3) Championship, held in November.
Semifinals and Finals (best-of-3)

You're welcome.
   2. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: March 20, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4393083)
Seems like you'd have various roster shenanigans if you separate the three rounds by so much, but if the WBC doesn't care about that, then it might just work.

Is Israel European for the purposes of your list?
   3. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: March 20, 2013 at 07:47 PM (#4393093)
“The Commissioner is 1,000-percent committed,” Brosnan said.
That's impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.
   4. Gamingboy Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4393114)
I'm guessing, RMc, that we'll see some sort of combination between the already-existing version of the Qualifiers and how the IIHF system of having National Teams be promoted and relegated based on performance.

So, like let's say that the WBC as we know it is the A-Pool, the qualifiers as we know them would be the B division and the new third part of qualifiers would be the C division. Brosnan said qualifiers could start in 2 years- that's 2015, suggesting to me that there will be more than one round of qualifiers. So the timeline-going roughly off of the IBAF world rankings- could look like this:

C-Division (* means last place finisher from 2012 qualifers)

Pool C1-Misc. (Paseo Stadium, Guam) :

Pool C2-Pacific and Asia (I have no effing clue):
Sri Lanka

Pool C3-Central and South America (Managua, Nicaragua):

Pool C4-Europe (Brno, Czech Republic):
Czech Republic*

All of that would be in 2015.

Then, in 2016, there's the B-pool:

Pool B1- Misc. (Monterrey, Mexico):
South Africa
Great Britain
Pool C1 winner

Pool B2- Pacific and Asia (Sydney, Australia):
New Zealand
Pool C2 winner

Pool B3-Central and South America (Panama City, Panama):
Pool C3 winner

Pool B4-Europe (Regensburg, Germany):
Pool C4 winner

Then the winner of each pool would be sprinkled into WBC. I'd like to see Santo Domingo host a round next time...

   5. Gamingboy Posted: March 20, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4393115)
That's impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.

+1 for a Simpsons quote.
   6. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: March 21, 2013 at 10:14 AM (#4393428)
Your idea is invalid, Gamingboy, because I didn't think of it first. ;)

No, seriously, I like it. I do wish the WBC can get away from the "four teams double elimination but not really" format they use now.

The Big Six, I think, is a pretty cool idea. Both for marketing purposes ("It's like the Final Four, but 50% Bigger!") and because it would be played in July, and thus could be held anywhere in North America. Imagine US-Japan in Yankee Stadium, or Mexico-Dominican in Houston. Fifteen top-level baseball games all across the continent in a single week!
   7. Greg K Posted: March 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4393461)
So no one is engaging with the elephant in the room?

Why is Pierce Brosnan working with MLB?
   8. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: March 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4393496)
Seems like you'd have various roster shenanigans if you separate the three rounds by so much, but if the WBC doesn't care about that, then it might just work.

Is Israel European for the purposes of your list?

The other sports have various shenanigans already if you count changing (or "evolving") rosters as "shenanigans." I think as long as the IBAF ties players to their national teams then a changing roster is reasonable. The player who is national team worthy in 2015 may not be in 2017 and of course injuries and other availability require some adjustment.

Israel is European in soccer purposes for political reasons. I assume the same is true for baseball and other international sports.
   9. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: March 21, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4393497)
Oh, and RMc, #1 is great stuff as is Gamingboy's #4.

I don't mind the "double elimination but not really" format in the WBC but I think the seeding game needs to be done away with. There is just no benefit to it.
   10. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 21, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4393518)
Or the seeding game can be like a Game 5/6/7 of the playoffs type of thing. In the DR-PR pool this year, it was not necessary. Maybe if we end up with 2 teams with 2-1 records, then yeah, play the game. It's kind of bullcrap for a team that swept its pool to have to play a team it already beat for seeding purposes especially with the pitching restrictions in place.
   11. void*** (SC) Posted: March 21, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4393557)
Israel is European in soccer purposes for political reasons. I assume the same is true for baseball and other international sports.

Kazakhstan is in Europe in soccer too. Maybe the US would be welcome if you asked.
   12. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4393559)
Oh and I should add that if you get a chance to go to a game with teams that have rabid fanbases, do it. Back in '06, I took my my then GF and now wife to a couple of games in Anaheim. First game of the day was US-Japan. Good game, decent atmosphere. Second game was Mexico-Korea. Fantastic atmosphere. One of the most lively ball games I have been to. Of course, it was a perfect setting. Santa Ana (next door to Anaheim) has a gigantic Mexican population and there were busses full of Korean folks from the LA area. I was already sold on the WBC, but that game sealed the deal. This year was just a bonus.
   13. Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon (CoB) Posted: March 21, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4393589)
I'll second #12, especially if you get a chance to see Japan v Korea; the two games I've seen them face off (semi-finals '06 and finals '09) are two of the funnest, most intense sporting events I've ever attended.

Thinking the format over, I think the finals round would be best served by at the very least increasing the semi-finals to a best-of-three series. It increases the chances that the Final itself will match the two best teams remaining, the series format more closely mimics traditional post-season play, rewards the better and *deeper* teams and minimizes the penalty that the teams coming from the overseas brackets face (travel, time change, time off).
   14. Gamingboy Posted: March 21, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4393870)
BTW, just as an example of how the pools could look in 2017:

Pool A (Seoul, Korea- they are building a domed stadium there):
Winner of Pool B2

Pool B (Osaka, Japan):
Venezuela (to test whether the lack of Japanese attendance at WBC games is just because some of the other teams have no name recognition or whether it is a cultural disinterest in non-Japanese games)
Winner of Pool B4

Pool C (Santo Domingo):
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Winner of Pool B3 (unless Brazil, in which case it swaps with winner of B4)

Pool D (Tampa, Florida area*):
China (screw it, let's stir up some geopolitical rivalry- having Team USA smash a hapless China would give America a jingoistic moment and maybe would motivate China to focus more money on the baseball program... and if China wins, well then we'd never have to worry about players turning it down again because the politicos would throw an uproar)
Winner of Pool B1

*USA games as well as Canada vs. Mexico (if Mexico qualifies) would be played in Tropicana. Other games would be played in Tampa-area Spring Training fields if weather permits with the Trop as a backup.

Second Round:

Pool 1 (Tokyo, Japan):
Winners and runner-ups of Pool A and Pool B

Pool 2 (Houston, Texas):
Winners and runner-ups of Pool C and D

Finals round (Anaheim, California)

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