Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Sheff is barking again.
I know Japan was displeased about the choice to hold it during Spring Training. You're going to have an inferior competition with increased risk to the players. Sheffield may be speaking out of place but, as usual, he's right.
Don't even get me started on having elimination games rather than series in baseball . . .
To be honest, I do not know how baseball can not be hurt by not being in the Olympics anymore. To say baseball doesnt need the Olympics is contradictory towards what the "World Classic" is all about. It is yet to be seen if the World Classic can replace the Olympics, but it has a long way to go in regards to exposure. There is no better "world" stage than the Olympics, hands down.
The quick decison by MLB and players association to stage this world cup is reflective with its format. Having it in March will hurt the players and it will hurt the game. The smart players will decline the invitation to join their prospective countries and be scolded for it. Yet the stupid players will agree to join for ego purposes and threaten their career. I think this was a great idea on paper but in reality can be disasterous.
I don't see any other motive for the MLB to have a world cup than to recruit more players to play in the US. Do we really believe that the whole purpose is to create clone MLB's in Europe and South America so that in the future we can have a friendly tournament every four years and call it the greatest sport?
Maybe the Olympic committee was right. The baseball game is too American and spreading baseball will try to hard make everyone American. I mean when was the last time we were guilty of that...
That being said, however, I'm no fan of sports nationalism. Give me steely professionals pursuing financial goals over the athletic patriots every time.
And pssst, Sheff, that ball coming toward you is Bud Selig's head.
I think Sheff has some very good points. I'm glad he's saying them.
Does anyone know if November was considered for the timing but dropped for a good reason? Or are they just afraid to go up against football? (which wouldn't surprise me)
At the very least, make one thing clear. Athos writes above, "as a Yanks fan, I don't see how this could do anything but harm their season."
Sheffield's comments, as usual, have nothing to do with the Yankees and their season. "Why should I...jeopardize my season? I'm not going to do that. Because my season is wnen I get paid." I take nothing away from Sheffield on the field, at least until he feels dissed; I've never seen anyone hit the ball harder than he does, and sometimes he even runs after balls in the outfield. But don't make him out to be some sort of good citizen, because he's as much of an arrogant creep as ever.
As for Sheff, it was funny when he ran his mouth about the trade, this is less amusing, but man what a batting stroke.
Playing for your national team is what it's all about for soccer, and it's always been like that. For baseball, it's all about MLB (and there's nothing wrong with that). Kids playing soccer in Mexico dream of playing for their national team. Kids playing baseball in Mexico dream of making it to MLB.
And, it was John Smoltz that ironed his shirt while wearing it.
Another reason to hate the Olympics.
And Sheff is on the money here. He may be a mercenary, and he may not care about what the fans want, but Gary Sheffield has what Gary Sheffield has because of his body. I totally support his right to protect his most valuable asset.
I think you're a little mistaken about the depth of interest in playing for national sides versus playing for Real Madrid, but your main point is that baseball isn't an international sport, so why have a World Cup?
Fair enough, I just disagree--I think it would be great. And I think baseball SHOULD be trying to spread its presence internationally, as I guess was clear from my second post above. Expands the talent pool for MLB, just for starters.
1. The World Cup is far more prestigious than the BBWC could ever hope to be in this century.
2. Private teams benefit from players being chosen to play internationally because the players are exposed to an elevated level of play. MLB is already the highest level of baseball competition. BBWC is just MLB scrambled.
3. Some international teams do reward their players for success in the World Cup.
4. Private teams benefit from a marketing standpoint by fielding a player that has had success in the World Cup.
5. Private teams compete in international competition (i.e. European Champions League). The farther the private team goes in these competitions, the more money the team stands to make with licensing rights, etc. The team's chances are better when it's side has been exposed to as many players as possible.
6. Sometimes soccer players don't play in international competition.
Maybe so. But it's not what he said, and it's not what he's ever said. It's always been about him.
"Gary Sheffield has what Gary Sheffield has because of his body. I totally support his right to protect his most valuable asset."
Fair enough. But then I don't understand what he's doing at the All-Star Game.
1. I think a BBWC could quickly become as prestigious as the soccer cup AMONG BASEBALL FANS. It would never replace the Series, but would be an additional way to enjoy the game.
2. Private teams could benefit by the exposure that exposure on the big stage gives by seeing how their Taiwanese prospect fares on a big stage, for example. Also, In soccer the World Cup is indeed a very high level of competition, but there are lots of scrub nations--the European Champions league probably features more consistent quality sides.
3. You're absolutely right--I believe this is more the case for smaller countries, but I just don't know. Anyway, what's wrong with a reward pool for BBWC? From sponsorship money.
4. The same would be true for baseball teams, if you grant me point 1 above.
5. That is true, but it doesn't seem like an objection to a BBWC.
6. Indeed they don't, most often in meaningless qualifiers or "friendlies" with nothing at stake. But there are many more international matches in soccer than there would be in a BBWC.
Look, my interest in a BBWC is threefold.
1. The chance to play for a little national pride, which I don't mind at all.
2. International competition elevates everybody's game, which is good for MLB ultimately, because it improves the quality of the prospects. I'm no basketball expert, but it seems to me that there's a connection between pros in Olympic ball, the increasing quality of international basketball competition, and the influx of talented foreign players into the NBA.
3. It's a chance to expand the audience of the sport. This is my personal hobbyhorse. Why not try to set up leagues and training camps in, say six countries where baseball isn't currently popular--with the goal of getting a team into international competition within ten years? Obviously they wouldn't be great for a while, but if you draw on talent pools of kids trained on cricket, it's not absurd to imagine them being decent. And it's a more tangible goal for them than "maybe you can be a major leaguer," though of course that's the reason to do all this in the first place. Expand the talent pool!
I respect that not everybody agrees. I just liek the idea. Sheff doesn't have to play.
Instead of random teams comprised of international all-stars, I would rather see a international tourney kind of like the European Champions League.
(I'm assuming that each nation has a top baseball league like the USA or Japan)
Here is how they pick the teams to compete in Europe's main soccer tourney:
Qualification for the competition is decided by standings in domestic league championship, with countries with stronger domestic league competition allocated more teams.
Clubs that play in stronger domestic leagues also enter at later stages of the competition.
So you could have the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, and Cardinals from last year representing the US against the best TEAMS in Asia, South America, Europe, where ever high-level baseball is played.
We would be more exposed to the styles of play across the world. That's why international soccer is fun. Watching a high-tempo South American club compete against a structured European team.
(I'm too stupid to argue how the scheduling and player fatigue would work out, I just know I would watch it.)
As for Sheff, my take is that he probably is thinking he's a borderline Hall of Famer, the more All-Star games he goes to, the better his chances. Pedro aside, the All-Star game is part of the season and quite prestigious, the BBWC doesn't have that cachet, yet.
And as far as it being "made up"...you mean like the Olympics? And the All-Star game? It's all "made-up" at one time or another.
I do like the idea of the event, but it is secondary to the real event: playing for a MLB team and winning the WS; that is the real event, that is the crown jewel.
The BBWC can be where players from other countries get noticed; where they show the scouts how much they deserve to be picked up for MLB. The US team could be more minor league and players who want to get noticed in the same way; if MLB team owners are dumb enough to let their players play, fine with me.
But as for the BBWC being worth risking injury, etc. for Bud Selig to market the game, Sheff is right to decline, and forcefully. I'd much rather see players from around the world getting paid and playing in the WS, having been outstanding in the BBWS the previous year, than to see Cano in a cast while Woemack hits into another double play to give Boston the division title.
The all-star game, as has been pointed out earlier, is a one-game exibition; a 2-inning PR effort. The HR derby moreso. The Olympics are meaningless to professional sports, and a total waste of time and ink, in my opinion. It's for track and field and other sports no one would otherwise watch. I don't care if the US loses the basketball game or the hockey game; the NBA championship is what matters and every player in the world knows it. The NHL, well....sigh.
Unfortunately, I don't think the US players (or fans) will take it as seriously. Again, to use baskeball as a reference, most (there are exceptions) foreign players seem to take the world championships/olympics more seriously than the Americans, where several of the top players turned down an invitation to play for Team USA. However, just because the US doesn't take it seriously doesn't mean the rest of the world will not.
Sheff is great. No problem with his comments here.
Speaking of home run derby last night. How about those oountry stats when a player came up to bat:
17 players represented in major league history
But when Texeira came up to bat they didnt show one measily stat for the US. I would have liked to see that line:
50,335 players represented in major league history
A better analogy would be football. Would it make sense to have NFL players play 2-3 extra games in August in a world tourney, and then start the regular season? Of course not. You'd probably have linemen dropping dead left and right who weren't in shape, not to mention the countless injuries of all kinds.
A world cup would be great for baseball. But it's not very feasible, mostly because of the pitching dynamic. Unless you think playoff starters can be pitching 270-300 innings a year.
It was more due to the drugs policy and that it would be held in Regents Park and not a proper stadium that would in use afterwards.
And they even have a World Cup too.
1. The argument that there are many scrub nations in the WC is just false. That might be true in qualifying, but by the WC every nation is relatively strong, though some such as Brazil are stronger.
2. I would note that the Champions League is actually only a European tournament. The South/Central and North American clubs have a separate competition. The CL makes sense because there are several domestic leagues that are already very strong. In baseball this just isn't true. The average American team is likely to be significantly stronger than any other domestic leagues teams, except possibly Japan, and even there I think the US teams are stronger. Its the same reason why teams from Finland don't tend to get very far in the CL.
3. Soccer players DO skip the lesser tournaments. Ronaldo has sat out the Confed Cup this year and missed several WC qualifiers in the past few weeks. Often times the US fields very young, inexperienced teams.
In addition, there is often friction between clubs and national teams about letting players go. There was a recent fight between several Brazilian clubs and their national soccer federation for example.
I personally think the baseball WC is a bad idea at least as its presently conceived. The major difference between soccer and baseball is that soccer plays once a week and baseball pretty much every day. Besides the chances for a catastrophic injury, the extra wear and tear on a baseball player makes a much bigger difference in the context of extending the season than to a soccer player.
While I don't agree with the way Sheff expressed his views, I DO agree with those views. Just imagine if Jeter and Rivera played for their nations and got hurt before the season started next year. You'd be pretty upset then and that goes for fans of every other team.
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