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Monday, March 18, 2013

Puerto Rico plays for game’s legacy in World Baseball Classic

Epic article, just one on top of many other reason why the WBC has been, and will be a huge huge success for baseball. And also a look into why a lot of the underdog teams play 200% and pull off insane upsets.

RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 04:58 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex rios, angel pagan, puerto rico, tom verducci

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   1. John Northey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:14 AM (#4390351)
Great description of why teams like Puerto Rico are winning even with A ball players and the like. Others take them too lightly and they play every game like it is game 7 of the World Series because, for them, it is. If they win it all they certainly have earned it - beating the US and Japan, who (if seeding was done) would be ranked #1/2 in the tournament.
   2. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 06:48 AM (#4390354)
Yeah, between them and the Dutch, we have a strong possiblity of a huge huge story in the finals
   3. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 18, 2013 at 07:41 AM (#4390355)
Nice to see for Puerto Rico, given the decline of baseball on the island, the financial struggles of the winter league there, and the failure of the Clemente Sports City. Perhaps this will be the boost that baseball needs in Puerto Rico.
   4. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:08 AM (#4390356)
As I said in the game thread, it is particularly interesting that this is happening this year, as this is by far the worst of the three Puerto Rican WBC teams. 2006 had Beltran, Delgado, Javy Lopez, Bernie Williams, Alex Rios, Pudge Rodriguez, Jose Valentin, plus more mlb pitchers.
   5. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:18 AM (#4390358)
But also, not to toot my own horn, but I've been touting PR as a dark horse for a while. You could see it in their home pool...they wanted to win and they could play ball.

how about Caracas for a first round pool next time? Seems unfair to give it to PR every time. I'd love to see a Venezuelan crowd.
   6. John Northey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:32 AM (#4390360)
I know it won't happen, but I think it'd be great to have the WBC in a different area than the US for the finals. Imagine the final 4 in Japan - I bet you'd see sellouts and very, very loud fans.
   7. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:40 AM (#4390363)
I think California is a good option...Asians, Latinos, and Americans are all well represented. Imagine a DR vs. Venezuela final in the Tokyo Dome. It would be empty.
   8. john_halfz Posted: March 18, 2013 at 08:42 AM (#4390365)
Don't understand how any conclusions can be drawn. The champion and runner-up will each have played eight games of baseball total at the end of the WBC?

Especially given the weird pitch count restrictions and the roster construction issues, it seems hard to look at this as anything more than a few games of exhibition baseball.

Have tried to avoid commenting on these threads, which become unnecessarily partisan and rancorous. But if the WBC is interested in appealing to a broad audience, they should lower ticket prices (at least until they start selling out games at the MLB venues) and do at least best-of-three for semifinals and finals.
   9. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:05 AM (#4390373)
But I did think Skydome was a great venue for a round 1 pool.

here's my 2016 idea...

Pool A, SkyDome, Toronto
Canada
Cuba
Mexico
Israel (or another low ranked qualifier from Europe)

Pool B, Estadio Universitario, Caracas Venezuela
Venezuela
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Panama (assuming they're back)

Pool C, Tokyo
Japan
Korea
China
Taiwan

Pool D, Amsterdam's new baseball satdium
Netherlands
USA (YES....SEND team USA to Honkbal territory)
Spain
Italy
   10. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4390375)
I agree that the finals at least should be two of three. Ideally the semis too.
   11. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:16 AM (#4390379)
Turns out Pagan lurks at BBTF. On Clemente: "I never saw him play ...."
   12. Misirlou's got a job, but it don't pay Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:18 AM (#4390381)
USA (YES....SEND team USA to Honkbal territory)


If your goal is to get even fewer MLB stars, then by all means, send them.
   13. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4390382)
They may want to consider making a movie base on this though, it's like major league .. WBC addition.

(calls a bunch of guys in weird places to form a scrappy team.)
   14. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:20 AM (#4390383)
If we can't get our team to go to ####### Holland then #### them.
   15. bunyon Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4390387)
But if the WBC is interested in appealing to a broad audience, they should lower ticket prices (at least until they start selling out games at the MLB venues) and do at least best-of-three for semifinals and finals.

I'm not sure I get this. I can't really speak to ticket prices (how much were they?) but the games I've watched have had good crowds. (I haven't seen the US play, believe it or not). And doing a series would make it appealing to a less broad audience in my opinion.

People like winner take all games. My guess is that a winner take all world championship, ala the Super Bowl would do better - that is, have a larger audience and TV share - than the current world series, even while it would be worse at determining a champion or satisfying the core baseball fans.

I think the basic problem is that the WBC is trying to serve two masters: one that wants a "real" world championship and one that wants exhibitions leading up the "real" season. They should punt the last group who simply isn't going to like the WBC no matter what (and of which you appear to be in) and go with a real series. No pitch limits, no roster shenanigans, etc. Simply play ball.

Host the games where people go to see them - i.e. not the US for the most part. If the US wants to participate, fine. If not, fine. If they're trying to grow the international sport, US fans need not be involved.
   16. bunyon Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:27 AM (#4390391)
If your goal is to get even fewer MLB stars, then by all means, send them.

I think some would go. I think the players that showed up were into it. It was team management and the players' teams that didn't like it.

That is who you have to get onboard. The players played hard. But they're under pressure not to show up.
   17. zack Posted: March 18, 2013 at 09:59 AM (#4390407)
I'm pro-WBC so take this is a criticism because I want it to be even better, not to tear it down.

At the very, very least, they should get rid of the "modified" in "modified double elimination". Just have a pure double elimination tournament for the second and third round. It's ridiculous that you get second chances in the second round, but not in third. The Netherlands could be in the finals with 2 losses in the 2nd round, while Japan is out with their only loss, just because of where they happened to lose. Making it to the SF without a loss should be an advantage, it should mean you still have a chance to run the gauntlet that is coming out of the loser's bracket.
   18. zack Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4390408)
If your goal is to get even fewer MLB stars, then by all means, send them.

Hey, Tony Tarasco and Grant Roberts may not be stars, but Lincecum is!
   19. Swedish Chef Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4390413)
If your goal is to get even fewer MLB stars, then by all means, send them.

There are attractions, Amsterdam has both legal weed and a huge red light district.
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4390424)
There are attractions, Amsterdam has both legal weed and a huge red light district.


doesn't matter if it's legal, you can still pop positive on a MLB drug test.
   21. puck Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4390458)
I think California is a good option...Asians, Latinos, and Americans are all well represented.

I know what you mean here, but this is pretty funny. It's like something Joe Biden would say.
   22. RollingWave Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4390460)
NBA plays exhibition games as far as China, I don't see why the US team can't play in Holland.

The truth is, any watcher of multi sports would realize that Baseball is losing pretty badly in terms of expanding internationally to Basketball and Football, hell even ICE FREAKING HOCKEY may be expanded more in the last 20 years than Baseball.

The average MLB fan in the US probably don't realize this. but if the current trend continue we may end up even without DR players in a few decades, it'll just be US ... and maybe not even Japan (where football is clearly gaining a the expense of baseball.)
   23. John Northey Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4390463)
While I think having team USA play in Europe would be a great thing for baseball, I don't see it happening anytime soon. If there are big stars with some other nation - be it Canada, Mexico, whoever - then try to see if they can be sent over, assuming said player was willing to go. Ideally in 2016 MLB would sit down with stars from some of the non-US, non-Asian teams and see if any would be willing to fly to Europe. Would have to be a hitter, not a pitcher, as pitchers would not be as willing I'd suspect. Then try to do a big thing around that player and around the local team.
   24. Swedish Chef Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4390464)
doesn't matter if it's legal, you can still pop positive on a MLB drug test.

There are no sanctions above fines for weed, and there is no random testing for drugs of abuse, it's clearly spelled out in the rules.
   25. Swedish Chef Posted: March 18, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4390469)
While I think having team USA play in Europe would be a great thing for baseball, I don't see it happening anytime soon.

There have been serious talk of playing an MLB series in the new Dutch stadium in 2014 or 2015. Having the national team play there doesn't seem all that more farfetched.
   26. Gamingboy Posted: March 18, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4390509)
I know for a fact that it's expected that there will be games in Amsterdam in 2014 or 2015, and I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere there would probably be games in Australia sometime in the next few years as well.
   27. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 18, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4390579)
[9] That bracket completely ignores seeding rules. Note that each pool in this year's bracket had one team from the 2009 final 4, another that made it to the second round, a third place finisher from the first round, and a qualifier. So, you'd have to have each pool have one team from each of the following groupings:

(1 seeds) Japan, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Puerto Rico
(2 seeds) United States, Italy, Cuba, Taipei
(3 seeds) China, Canada, Korea, Venezuela
(4 seeds) qualifiers (Mexico is a virtual lock here, otherwise spots are up for grabs)

Yes, I realize that could create some strange brackets. But remember that the Dutch win over DR created the mismatched pools this year. And I certainly prefer a methodology of balancing brackets based on past performance over any alternative method.
   28. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4390592)
Imagine a DR vs. Venezuela final in the Tokyo Dome. It would be empty

I imagine it would be full
   29. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: March 18, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4390616)
I think we can all agree that the best method for assigning the pools would be by a visible random draw (while keeping 1 of each level of seeds, having the host countries pre-assigned, and limiting the Asian teams to Asian pools). My question is, do you think the tournament's on a strong enough footing that it can afford to do that?

Assume the 2017 1st round sites are Japan, Korea, USA and Puerto Rico. That means either the DR or Netherlands is going to Korea. Will they be willing to leave that to chance, or will the DR team, with more big-name MLB players, stay nearby?

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