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Sunday, July 07, 2002

My Cup Runneth Over

Jim needs something to do at 3 AM.

A recently concluded Futbol tournament known as the World Cup, brought the   best players from 32 nations around the globe in order to compete for the World   Championship.

Baseball has its own World Cup and it is played in November. Here was the starting   lineup the USA fielded in the Gold Medal game of the 2001 cup. They lost 5-3   to Cuba:

Carl Crawford - LF, Mark Budzinski - CF, Orlando Hudson - 2B, Joe Borchard   - CF, Marty Malloy - DH, Ken Huckaby - C, Matt Erickson - SS, Chris Snopek -   3B, Ben Broussard - 1B. Starting Pitcher - Jason Phillips.

Marty Malloy?

Needless to say this isn’t a USA "b-team" or even a "z-team."   It hardly seems coincidental that the tournament was not heavily publicized,   and that the best baseball players in the world were not participating for any   of the teams.

But what if they did? What if something could be worked out where every fourth   November the best and the brightest of Baseball gathered to duke it out in grand   fashion for the World Championship?

For whatever reason, this scenario brought great interest to me as I watched   the best players from various countries try and win the 2002 Copa Mundial de   Futbol.

So I figured I’d use my considerable journalistic clout, and hijack this space   for a simple listing of the top teams and players of such a tournament. I present   the 2002 Copa Mundial de Beisbol.

United States of America

Starting lineup: Mike Piazza - C, Jeff Bagwell - 1B, Jeff Kent - 2B, Eric Chavez   -3B, Alex Rodriguez - SS, Barry Bonds - LF, Ken Griffey Jr. - CF, Chipper Jones   - RF, Jason Giambi - DH.
  Pitchers: Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, Barry Zito, Robb Nen,   Billy Wagner.

Obviously the prohibitive favorites, the problem for the States would be to   organize a batting order. Another issue to consider is whether Jeter and Garciaparra   might be better choices for 2B and 3B than Kent and Chavez. The team would likely   do a lot of platooning in order to get everybody on the club significant playing   time in the tournament, and considering the overall depth of quality, it would   probably help the club on the field.

Ranking: 1st.

Dominican Republic

Starting lineup: Tony Eusebio - C, David Ortiz - 1B, Alfonso Soriano - 2B,   Albert Pujols -3B, Miguel Tejada - SS, Sammy Sosa - LF, Carlos Beltran - CF,   Vladimir Guerrero - RF (ed. note - was originally Pedro not Vlad), Manny Ramirez - DH.
  Pitchers: Pedro Martinez, Bartolo Colon, Pedro Astacio, Ramon Ortiz, Armando   Benitez, Octavio Dotel.

An extremely strong ballclub, in order to maximize the quality of the team,   the Dominicans might consider platooning Soriano and Luis Castillo. They are   astonishingly weak at catcher with Tony Eusebio being notionally the best I   could come up with (contrast this with Puerto Rico). Let me know if I’ve missed   anybody. The pitching would be very strong though heavily right-handed.

Ranking: 2nd.


Starting lineup: Atsuya Furuta - C, Michihiro Ogasawara - 1B, Tadahito Iguchi   - 2B, Norihiro Nakamura -3B, Kazuo Matsui - SS, Hideki Matsui - LF, Tsuyoshi   Shinjo - CF, Ichiro Suzuki - RF, Nobuhiko Matsunaka - DH.
  Pitchers: Koji Uehara, Hideo Nomo, Kazuhisa Ishii, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kazuhiro   Sasaki, Hideki Okajima.

By far the fastest and maybe the best defensive team involved, they lack the   power of the other big guns, but are not completely without it as Hideki "Godzilla"   Matsui and Michihiro Ogasawara are both big, strong power-hitters. The fame   of Tsuyoshi Shinjo could hurt the club because I believe Tomoaki Kanemoto or   Yoshitomo Tani might be better players. The team leans heavily toward left-handed   hitters making them match-up well with the Dominican pitching. The best Japanese   player might be shortstop, Kazuo Matsui. Matsui is rumored to be heading stateside   in 2003 and he’s a lightning fast .300 hitting switch-hitter with very good   glove-work and 15-20 homer power. In other words he’s a faster Derek Jeter with   a better glove. The pitching is not as strong as the USA or the Dominicans,   but Uehara and the hard-throwing Matsuzaka compliment the stateside Japanese   pitchers well. Okajima is a tough left-handed reliever.
  Ranking: 3rd.

Puerto Rico

Starting lineup: Ivan Rodriguez - C, Carlos Delgado - 1B, Roberto Alomar -   2B, Jose Vidro -3B, Rey Sanchez - SS, Jose Cruz Jr. - LF, Bernie Williams -   CF, Juan Gonzalez - RF, Edgar Martinez - DH.
  Pitchers: Javier Vazquez, Joel Pineiro, Dicky Gonzalez, J.C. Romero, Hector   Mercado, Roberto Hernandez.

I moved Vidro to third instead of using Mike Lowell or Jose Valentin because   I felt he fit the lineup better and was probably a better hitter. I also placed   Rey Sanchez ahead of Valentin at SS because the Puerto Rican pitching is fairly   weak and they could use the glove. After Vazquez and Pineiro, their pitching   becomes very suspect with guys like Ricky Bones and Javier Martinez becoming   viable options. The lineup however is top-notch and one of the best catchers   in the world in Jorge Posada would wind up backing up IRod and filling in at   1B and DH.

Ranking: 4th.


Starting lineup: Ramon Hernandez - C, Roberto Petagine - 1B, Edgardo Alfonzo   - 2B, Carlos Guillen - 3B, Omar Vizquel - SS, Magglio Ordonez - LF, Richard   Hidalgo - CF, Bobby Abreu - RF, Roger Cedeno - DH.
  Pitchers: Freddy Garcia, Tony Armas Jr., Omar Daal, Johan Santana, Kelvim Escobar,   Ugueth Urbina.

Another strong team, theoretically any of Japan, Puerto Rico or Venezuela could   be ranked in any order. This just happens to be my opinion. The Venezuelans   won’t make the mistake the Astros, Padres, Mets and Reds made and give Roberto   Petagine the starting first base job over fellow Japanese League All-Star Alex   Cabrera. Hidalgo and Abreu can be switched between center and right if the team   so chooses. The pitching is also a touch thin but better than Puerto Rico’s,   especially in the bullpen. They don’t have quite the same top to bottom lineup   as Puerto Rico though as Hernandez, Guillen and Cedeno are all fairly weak hitters   for those positions. Venezuela would be the youngest of the powerhouse teams   which means very good thing for the future success of the national team. In   four years this team might be able to overtake the Dominicans for the number   two spot.


Starting lineup: Jamie Pogue - C, Justin Morneau - 1B, Stubby Clapp - 2B, Corey   Koskie - 3B, Danny Klassen - SS, Matt Stairs - LF, Larry Walker - CF, Aaron   Guiel - RF, Nigel Wilson - DH.
  Pitchers: Eric Gagne, Ryan Dempster, Chris Reitsma, Mike Kusiewicz, Jeff Zimmerman.   Paul Quantrill.

How about them Canadians, eh? The warriors of the Great White North represent   what is probably the start of the second echelon teams. These teams would generally   feature players from the American Professional leagues but would rely somewhat   on AAA lifers, non-prospects and low-level major leaguers, to make up its roster.   Walker would be a welcome addition to any lineup in the Cup, but his abilities   may be stretched in CF. Former prospect Nigel Wilson comes over from Japan to   aid Walker, Matt Stairs and Corey Koskie in the power department. Eric Gagne   would almost have to return to the rotation for the Canadians to have a chance   at being competitive as Jeff Zimmerman can handle the closing duties and the   Canadians have a stronger bullpen than rotation. Chris Reitsma from Minneapolis   has dual-citizenship, but considering he’d be about 71st on the USA list of   pitchers, he would almost certainly play here as he has in the past. This team’s   just good enough to cause the top teams to take them seriously, and with a few   breaks might be able to get in the thick of things.

Ranking 6th.

Remaining Top 10 (Top Player)

7. Korea Republic (Byung-Hyun Kim)
  8. Cuba (Omar Linares or Jose Ibar)
  9. Mexico (Erubiel Durazo)
  10 . Australia (John Stephens)

The strength of all of these teams (sans Australia) is fairly hard to gauge   since none of them contribute players regularly to the American or Japanese   professional ranks (where the level of play is fairly easy to gauge). Cuba has   benefited greatly in international play from sending its best non-refugee players   to the Olympics and World Cup play. With the fact that now that other countries   send pros of modest quality, Cuban dominance has been diminished considerably,   it’s reasonable to assume that with everyone else’s best against Cuba’s best,   Cuba’s standing would fall greatly. In fact a team called "Free Cuba"   consisting of Cubans severed from their country of birth might very well be   a stronger club. Still, they could deserve to be rated a few slots higher. Korea   and Mexico also do not contribute players heavily to the American pros and the   players that they have contributed have held their own but only a couple have   achieved stardom. John Stephens may seem a peculiar choice over bigger names   like Chris Snelling (who should be their best in four years) and Luke Prokopec,   but its just a matter of time before the Orioles forget about what the radar   gun says when Stephens pitches and concentrate on what the scoreboard says when   he does. Stephens is currently 11-4 with a 2.80 ERA and a league leading 110   strikeouts to only 18 walks for Rochester of the International League.

Pending on a varied list of factors, Taiwan, Panama or the Netherlands could   crack this top 10 as well.

A parting thought: Does anyone suppose it would be remotely possible for the   MLBPA to do an end-run around MLB ownership and arrange such a tournament in   another country if a strike happened? Probably not, but it would be a decent   threat.

Any thoughts, criticisms, comments or suggestions on this exercise are welcome.


Voros McCracken Posted: July 07, 2002 at 06:00 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605449)
I'm glad to see that Pedro Guerrero is taking time out of his busy cocaine-trafficking schedule to participate in this tournament. Viva Pedro!
   2. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605452)
I think the Cuban team would be vastly superior to Canada for sixth place, and probably better than Venezuela too. Many of the players are unfamiliar to Americans, but these guys are good ballplayers. Their pitching staff would probably be better than any team except the U.S.

Starting Lineup: C-Yosvany Peraza 1B-Michel Abreu 2B-Antonio Pacheco 3B-Omar Linares SS-Eduardo Paret LF-Yobel Due?as CF-Victor Mesa RF-Daniel Lazo.
Pitchers: Jose Ibar, Norge Luis Vera, Jose Contreras, Pedro Luis Lazo, Livan Hernandez, Orlando Hernandez, Danys Baez, Rolando Arrojo.

Eli Marrero would be the backup catcher (or possibly the starter); Rafael Palmeiro the DH; and old guys Jose Canseco, Orestes Kindelan, and German Mesa on the bench as pinch hitters.
   3. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605454)
Hey, Dan, what about Melvin Mora on the Venezuelan team? I'd think he'd be a better option than Roger Cedeno.
   4. Voros McCracken Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605455)
Sorry about Pedro Guerrero's re-emergence.

As far as Beltran, for whatever reason the source I used had him as a Dominican. Don't know why. He would probably not start for the P.R. team over Cruz but even if he does it doesn't improve/hurt the team any. Alex Cabrera could move in as the D.R. DH with Vladimir shifting to Centerfield.


The problem with your Cuban team is that guys like Arrojo and Canseco would not wind up playing with Kindelan (who is ancient by now) and Linares in the tournament. The political reality would simply not have that sort of thing occur, so you're left with two separate Cuban teams, which are probably roughly of equal quality.

Whether the Canadian team is ahead of the Cuban team is nevertheless a fair question. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt since we can have a pretty firm grasp on their performance level while for the Cubans a lot of guesswork is involved. I would expect that if the Cuban team was a top 4 caliber club here, that their results in international play the last few years would have been more impressive.

I just realized the problem on Beltran. I was scribbling countries down for various players and the "P.R." I scribbled for Beltran looked amazingly like a "D.R." Ooops!!
   5. Voros McCracken Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605456)

I wouldn't take either Cedeno or Mora over the top 3 Venezuelan Outfielders: Ordonez, Hidalgo and Abreu, which leaves DH. If I wanted the very best hitter for DH, I'd also probably take Alex Cabrera over both. But the team seemed to lack a lead-off hitter so I took Cedeno. Plus Mora would be more valuable off the bench than Cedeno as a utility player. He was considered, is what I am saying.

And in my last comment I misspoke when I mentioned Alex Cabrera for the Dominicans, what I meant was Raul Mondesi replacing Beltran in the lineup.


Puerto Rico fields separate teams in Basketball and Football/Soccer, so it would be assumed they'd field a separate one for Baseball. Unlike a place like Cuba, I'd assume most Puerto Rican players would be happy to play for the Puerto Rican national team. Plus, only Alomar, Williams and Pudge would be good bets to make the U.S. team and only Alomar would have a good chance at starting.

One final clarification,

The six teams listed I entered because they were the ones where I could get the best handle on the relative quality of players. After these six, it becomes difficult to sort through where exactly someone like Mexican Third-Baseman Ramon Orantes fits in (Does he hit like Jose Vidro or does he hit like Casey Blake?) As such, i felt more comfortable listing them as an other.

I have entered those 6 teams into DMB with my 2002 projections and played a few sample tournaments. At least via this method, the USA wins the tournament about 8 out of every 10 tries, with Japan and the Dominican Republic (and maybe occassionally Venezuela) winning sporadically.
   6. Patriot Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605460)
I am sure that Eric Enders knows 5000 times more about Cuban baseball than I do, but whenever I look at the skeleton stats they print in Baseball America, a pitcher named something like Maels Rodriguez, who IIRC is 21 years old, is always among the leaders, with guys like Contreras, Ibar, and Lazo. I would assume based on this that he would be a better choice than Rolando Arrojo, but I am willing to be corrected:)
   7. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605462)
Indeed, I forgot about Maels Rodriguez, who according to the Cuban League's website
went 14-3, 2.13 for Sancti Spiritus last year. I've never seen him pitch personally, but his stats look impressive. He was second in the league in wins, first in strikeouts, and fifth in ERA.
   8. tangotiger Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605463)
The most important aspect of any such tournament is how would it be set up. For example, do you do like the Soccer World Cup and have groups whereby the 16 best get into a knockout tournament? And how many days between such games.

This is critical because a team can ride one pitcher throughout (ala Danny Almonte). Or, if they schedule alot of off days, maybe 3 pitchers. Any team that starts off with Pedro already has a leg up. But if you setup the tournament so that you almost need 4 or 5 starters, then you really force the issue.

I'm sure that Americans would be in charge of such a tournament, and I'm sure that they would impose the rules, such that the Pedro effect is mitigated. While Americans are accustomed to certain pitching rotations and the relative value of starting pitching, it doesn't necessarily mean that this should be imposed on such a tournament.
   9. GregD Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605467)
All Puerto Ricans are American citizens. The question about Nuyoricans is an interesting one, though. In the Olympics, my understanding is that PR gets to pick its representatives and that they will generally take anyone who has at least one parent who is "fully" Puerto Rican, which in practice means one parent who is either from the island or descended from two people from the island. This would include a lot of nuyoricans, although not all since we're now into the third generation following the post-WWII exodus to Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Some of the European countries have similar rules, i.e. Albania sometimes puts second and third generation Albanian-Americans on their teams.

As long as Puerto Rico isn't a state, they'll have the right to field their own teams, and having that right, they'll extend the option to play to nuyoricans. Whether somebody in Edgar's situation would play for PR or the USA is hard to say.

The "national teams" format is a little dull to me, since the US would almost always win, I think, but a "regional" format could be fun--US and Canada combined versus a Caribbean team, including the islands and Mexico, for example, and all of them versus a Pan-Asian team or something. If you allowed PR and DR to combine squads, you'd start to get close to a team that could beat the U.S.
   10. Bob T Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605471)
I would have to think that there is a center fielder in Japan now who is better than Shinjo. Shinjo was never considered the best Japanese CF when he played there.
   11. Voros McCracken Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605475)

Edgar Martinez was born in New York, but at 1 years old, his parents got divorced and he and his siblings were sent to Puerto Rico to live with his Grandparents. Edgar grew up in Puerto Rico, attended and graduated High School in Puerto Rico and attended College in Puerto Rico.

I don't think Edgar would make the USA team and I do think he would have no problem representing Puerto Rico in such a tournament, he'd probably be honored.

As for the selections, I think most would select Piazza, there's only so much damage one can do with the stolen base and they have to reach first base to do it. As for the others, this is not a 2002 half-season best stats team. I'm trying to select the best players and that's not the same thing (Bret Boone anyone?) Berkman is a centerfielder only because Jimy Williams has chosen to continue playing him there. A healthy Griffey is probably a better centerfielder. As far as Chipper goes, his defense in the outfield has improved and if it makes you feel better we can move Bonds to right and leave Chipper in left.

WRT Bagwell and Thome, Bagwell's better defensively and until this season did everything Thome does offensively only plus about 25 points of batting average and 15 to 20 more stolen bases a year. The choice wasn't really between Bagwell and Thome but between Bagwell and Todd Helton. I went with Bagwell figuring that if this were reality, this would be Bagwell's last shot to make the team while Helton would have more to come (Thome would have one more chance).

Finally, while the American team would dominate initially, one of the great things behind such a tournament would be the chance to grow the sport significantly in other countries. I'm guessing the presence of the tournament would increase the quality of the players being developed by other countries so that countries like Venezuela would get stronger and stringer as time went on. I think there's a real good chance that somebody besides the USA would win one of the first three tournaments, and when they did it would be HUGE in that country.
   12. Voros McCracken Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605477)

The tournament is currently played in November, and I think this would be the best time to play the tournament. Each main country has enough cities that can handle November Baseball weather wise (whether you could play Baseball in Vancouver in November is probably open to debate and they could hold it at Safeco anyway).

The Netherlands could field a respectable team, as I believe the players from Curacao could play for them, which means the Dutch would have at least one World Class player, Andruw Jones, on their side. Italy, the Netherlands and Russia are the three European teams with the strongest baseball backgrounds. Following Football World Cup procedures, Jason Simontacchi would pitch for Italy having appeared for their National Team in the past.
   13. Rich Rifkin I Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605490)

Yes, Andruw Jones is the only "world class" player who could play for the Netherlands. But the Dutch would also have Randall Simon - famous mostly for what John Rocker called him, "The Fat Monkey", in the infamous Sports Illustrated article. Holland would also have Radhames Dykhoff, Gene Kingsale, Calvin Maduro, Sidney Ponson, Robert Eenhoorn, and Rikkert Faneyte. Bert Blyleven, as a coach for the Dutch, could teach their pitchers how to avoid neck injuries when they spin around to watch home runs fly out of the ballpark.
   14. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: July 08, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605494)
Eric Gagne would clearly make the team based on merit. But he's probably the only one.
   15. Voros McCracken Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:34 AM (#605496)
Gagne and Walker would be the two closest to make the USA team. But both Koskie and Zimmerman would be able to acquit themselves on such a team themselves. Really, as good as Chavez as, the difference between him and Koskie over a 10 to 15 game stretch is probably not at all great.

That really is the interesting thing. The other teams would clearly have a shot since the tournament could reasonably be no more than 20 games at most for anybody. In that kind of span, any of the top 5 teams above could theoretically have a good run and at least make the US team.

As far as the "Pedro Factor," it isn't as if the USA would complain that it gets to send the Big Unit out there every time. The team that would most seriously benefit from lots of off days would be the strong hitting, but thin pitching Puerto Rico.
   16. KJOK Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605502)
The NY Times has an article today proposing something very similar:
   17. JimmyAAA Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605507)
Several comments from a Canadian.

1. What makes you think we want to share a team with the US? When I look at my team right now and think of what it would have been 25 years ago (Tery Puhl and Fergie Jenkins). It makes me proud to see how far we've come. We had two of the top ten selections in the draft this year. Especially in Vancouver, we are developing Baseball Players.

2. Unappealing as they are. We have three domed stadiums, (Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto) all seat more than 50,000. We could host the tournemant, but we really don't have any decent outdoor baseball stadiums.

   18. Voros McCracken Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605508)

Help me out with something. Looking up and down the 25 man roster I eventually came up with for the Canadians, I was stunned to find out the hitters were almost entirely left-handed.

Is there an explanation for this that you know of, or is it a fluke? Can anybody shed some light on this? Do the baseball coaches in Canada turn everybody into a left-handed hitter when they are young? Is it a selection bias by the Majors?
   19. tangotiger Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605509)
The Pedro effect is more a question about trotting out one guy all the time, as opposed to going to the 3rd or 4th or 5th guy on the roster. Obviously Pedro and Randy cancel out. It's all the guys after that that matters.

In hockey, the Czech Republic had their own Miracle on Ice as they iced only 12 NHL players (everyone else had at least 18), but had the sublime Dominik Hasek in nets. The performance of Hasek is what determined who won the Olympics in 98.
   20. JimmyAAA Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605511)


Almost all players were hockey players as well. And junior league hockey coaches try to get most skilled players to switch to their left hand. The more creative players are almost all left handed. Our only really great golfer (Mike Weir) is one the few left handed golfers out there.

   21. jeff angus Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605513)
Like Eric, I've seen the Cubans play , and I have to second his opinion of them. The caliber of their fundamental play is very high, and for the select squads that play internationally, probably markedly higher than most MLB teams. Their athleticism is probably inferior to MLB norms.

I'd bet big money they'd overwhelm the Canadian squad (the Cubans' model is very Larry Walker-like...wall-banging hockey-player intensity, with deeper talent). They'd probably beat the Puertorriquenos & Dominicans as well (though Pedro would make them look as silly as he does everyone else).

I'm ready for the Copa Mondial de Beisbol...when do we start?
   22. Voros McCracken Posted: July 09, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605515)
Well, I'm just a tad skeptical of the Cubans. Almost none of the "free Cubans" who have made their way over here have lived up to expectations. Even El Duque is merely a good pitcher who is a creation of some early strong playoff results.

I just get the feeling that there is a real possibility that Cuba's isolation has hurt the development of its ballplayers, whereas countries like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic have the advantage of their best young players going through the MLB organizational system (as well as the acadmies and other programs in those countries).

Canada does have some strong players, and I think Walker, Koskie and Gagne are probably better players than any of the "Free Cubans" (El Duque and Koskie are close. Palmeiro and Canseco don't count since they are products of the American development system). I have no idea whether Canada would beat Cuba (I'm guessing they both would win their share against each other), but I have the sneaking suspicion the Cubans are to an extent "paper tigers." Their results in an international play have not been all that impressive. If the team is that strong (say on par with the Dominicans) they should be obliterating everything in its path in these tourneys. Yes, their pitchers throw hard, but so does Aaron Myette and he did not make the 11 pitchers I listed for Canada. As does Chad Ricketts, a middle reliever on Canada's team.

I'd say Cuba could be anywhere from 4th to 9th. I don't think there's evidence to suggest they are on par with the Dominicans, Americans or Japanese, but they certainly could be the 4th best team. I'll take Venezuela, personally, and if yoy add a bunch of off-days, I'd definitely go with Puerto-Rico as well.

We just don't know how good the Cubans are.
   23. Voros McCracken Posted: July 10, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605523)
Rivera is from Panama.
   24. Voros McCracken Posted: July 11, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605527)
That is true, but there a couple different factors in baseball:

Holland is a world power in soccer meaning it doesn't need players from the Caribbean.

If I undertsand things correctly, Aruba is not part of the Netherlands Antilles and they too have their own Soccer club.

This means that a Netherland Antilles team would be almost entirely players from Curacao, meaning that team would not have Sidney Ponson or Rikert Faneyte or E.J. t'Hoen.

In international play thus far, the Netherlands _have_ fielded clubs that mixed players from Aruba, Curacao and Holland with the 2000 Sydney Olympics club featuring both Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens and Robert Eenhoorn.

My guess is that to make the quality of the team as strong as possible (and the Netherlands would likely desperately like to have Andruw Jones to give them a "star"), they would field one great big Netherlands team as they have in the past, unlike the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
   25. JimmyAAA Posted: July 11, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605528)
1. Anyplayer who is a naturalized citizen of a country in virtue of that country?s laws shall be eligible to play for a national or representative team of that country.

2. If a player has been included in a national or representative team of a country for which he is eligible to play pursuant to paragraph 1, he shall not be permitted to take part in an international match for another country. Accordingly, any player who is qualified to play for more than one national association (i.e. who has dual nationality) will be deemed to have committed himself to one association only when he plays his first international match in an official competition (at any level) for that association.

3. The only players exempt from this provision are those whose nationality has been changed not voluntarily but as the result of an international decree either granting independence to a region or ceding part of one country to another.

Those are FIFA's eligibilty rules for the World Cup. Also if your parents are a citizen of another country, you can play for them. Most likely Jones would be eligible to play for the Dutch.

   26. GregD Posted: July 12, 2002 at 12:35 AM (#605532)
A government turnover in Cuba would almost certainly lead to re-certifying all of the second- and third-generation Cuban-Americans as Cuban citizens, probably offering citizenship to anyone who had ancestors who were citizens pre-1959. In that case all of the Cuban-American players who didn't make a U.S. national team (or who preferred not to play for a US national team) would be eligible to play for Cuba, which would probably be enough to raise Cuba over PR and DR and Venezuela and into the position of the #2 team.
   27. Michael Posted: August 09, 2002 at 12:39 AM (#605783)
I think the best format follows:
14 teams. The 8 worst play in a round robin, with 1st and 4th playing a best of three seires, and 2nd and 3rd doing the same. THe Winners of those series would go to the final round of 8, along with the best 6 teams in the world. THey would do the same as the first round, except this time the winners of the two series play each other for the world championship.
SInce baseball players can play everyday, this tournament lasts a little more than 20 days, with the better teams arriving about in the middle.
   28. Michael Posted: August 09, 2002 at 12:39 AM (#605784)
I think the best format follows:
14 teams. The 8 worst play in a round robin, with 1st and 4th playing a best of three seires, and 2nd and 3rd doing the same. THe Winners of those series would go to the final round of 8, along with the best 6 teams in the world. THey would do the same as the first round, except this time the winners of the two series play each other for the world championship.
SInce baseball players can play everyday, this tournament lasts a little more than 20 days, with the better teams arriving about in the middle.

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