March 19, 2006


In praise of an instant classic (Gordon Edes, March 19, 2006, Boston Globe)

The tiebreakers have to go. This is still baseball, after all, not soccer.

Find another time slot. We can't have Americans with the built-in excuse of saying the world caught us when we weren't ready. And the calendar is already overcrowded by March Madness and spring training. A midsummer gathering of nations sounds irresistible. Make it a real All-Star break.

Turn up the dial on America's best players and make it almost impossible for them to say no to playing, and make them realize they'll be sorry if they skip the chance to play.

Tell umpire Bob Davidson that, in his case, it's two strikes and you're out. No point in risking another international incident.

And whatever you do, make sure the Cubans come back, with or without Fidel's ''doctor" son in the dugout.

But by all means, call off the pack of bloodhounds crazed by the scent of Barry Bonds long enough to acknowledge what Bud Selig has been promising all along, that the World Baseball Classic has been a heck of a show, and a great promotional tool for the sport far beyond our borders.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 19, 2006 2:55 PM

Bringing the season to a dead stop for 2 1/2 to three weeks in the middle of summer is a gawdawful idea, especially when you consider that neither the owners nor the players are going to give up the revenue of a 162-game schedule, which means either the season starts in mid-March, or it ends in mid-November, which in turn would probably lead MLB to start considering warm-weather/domed sites for the World Series, a la the Super Bowl, to avoid the embarassment of snow-outs.

They'd be better off playing the next one after the Series, using mostly players from teams who either don't make the playoffs or who are eliminated in the divisional playoffs, who would alreaady be in condition (albeit a little tired). Then, if they have to play in November in warm-weather sites, it wouldn't be any different from this year's WBC, and they could set it up for the title game to be held around Thanksgiving weekend.

Posted by: John at March 19, 2006 3:10 PM

You could also interleave the first round games with the off days between the playoff rounds and during the Series itself. Think of last year when, due to the White Sox and other teams sweeping, there were up to five days of nothing happening. Games between Panama and the Netherlands would help fill the gaps.

Another idea would be to have the Japanese and North American champion team participate along with national teams, earning byes to skip the pool rounds. So starting around 01 Nov, you'd be down to those two plus six national teams. (Yeah, playing games after the Series would be a letdown, but on the other hand, if it becomes a de facto world championship, that might be incentive to continue.)

(Note I'm just tossing ideas these out, not saying they are any good.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 19, 2006 3:26 PM

Raoul has a good idea. Mid-season.

If you do it like soccer internationals during the season but spread out more, you'd have some great press during the build up to the next round. Players would be in mid-season form and less likely to get hurt, plus you sell out games.

Anything for more baseball.

Posted by: scosco at March 19, 2006 4:09 PM

Have to agree with John. There is too much money at stake with the MLB season for players/owners to mess around with the WBC. Look at the uproar over Damon's shoulder injury.

Before or after the MLB season seems to be the only options and as noted above you run into weather issues.

Posted by: AWW at March 19, 2006 4:36 PM