Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2005-07-12 07:49
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Sheff is barking again.

2005-07-12 08:05:34
1.   Simone
Yeah, Sheffield barked a whole lot before and during the 2004 ALCS and look how that turned out. If the Yankees don't make the playoffs this season, after last year's debacle then ... Ugh.
2005-07-12 09:02:39
2.   Cliff Corcoran
It makes you wonder why they decided to hold the tournament in March. Why not in November? They'll be playing it in warm weather climates (Florida, Arizona, California, the Carribean, in doors in Japan) anyway. Most pitchers will still be in season shape, but will have had a month of rest so they're not blowing out their arms. And if someone blows out a hammy or even a shoulder or a knee, they'd have three full months to recover before spring training starts.

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 . . .

2005-07-12 09:18:07
3.   Athos
Sheff's absolutely correct on this... one can say that it's great for baseball when it comes to world exposure, but, as a Yanks fan, I don't see how this could do anything but harm their season... I'm actually surprised that other players haven't really commented against the idea...
2005-07-12 09:40:30
4.   jedi
I think Selig got his people to speed up the "World Baseball Classic" train when the Olympics decided to eliminate baseball and softball from the 2012 games because it was too "American." Even though, Selig has stated that baseball would not be affected by the Olympic committee's decision, you have to believe that Selig was trying to lick some wounds by announcing a world cup style tournament so quickly. Wasn't it just two months ago we were just dreaming this type of tournament?

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...

2005-07-12 09:58:34
5.   Murray
I applaud baseball for refusing to send major leaguers, effectivly telling the corrupt sleazebags who run the Olympics that the integrity of a baseball season is more important than their quadrennial dog and pony show. Soccer doesn't seem to need the Olympics to thrive on the global stage every four years, and neither does baseball. Baseball's future should be in the cricket-playing nations of the British commonwealth, places such as India, Australia and Pakistan. Who cares about France and Germany and Spain?

That being said, however, I'm no fan of sports nationalism. Give me steely professionals pursuing financial goals over the athletic patriots every time.

2005-07-12 10:15:42
6.   rbj
I do like the idea of a World Cup for baseball, but the idea of Mo pitching, say, nine or so games (one or two innings each?) right before the season starts is not something I, as a Yankee fan, want to see. Especially if he's pitching deep into October [crosses fingers, knocks on head].

And pssst, Sheff, that ball coming toward you is Bud Selig's head.

2005-07-12 10:26:15
7.   Paul in Boston
Can't say I disagree with Sheff here. I wonder if Beltran was so agreeable because he knows he's having a disappointing year thus far.
2005-07-12 10:40:15
8.   Shaun P
jedi, IIRC, this idea of a baseball world cup has been thrown around since at least early 2004 (see

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)

2005-07-12 10:52:37
9.   JL25and3
Alex, I'm the guy who sent you the long diatribe about Sheffield. And once again, he pops off his mouth and everyone sticks up for him. This is just another little piece of the angry, arrogant, self-centered picture he's been showing us for the last 15 years. Granted, this one wasn't so bad, not when compared with his recent promise to, in effect, undermine any team he was traded to. I also happen to think that this tournament is a completely dumb idea; but then, I think the All-Star game is a pretty dumb idea, too, but Sheffield's willing to risk his season for that.

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.

2005-07-12 11:14:33
10.   Athos
I interpreted Sheff commenting on "his season" and "when I get paid" as knowing WHO pays HIS bills.... maybe just a matter of interpretation... I'm tending not to make Sheff out as Mr. Good or Bad Citizen... I just think he has a great point selfish or not
2005-07-12 11:22:00
11.   fgasparini
I understand Sheff's concern, but there are plenty of really highly paid soccer players around the world who regularly compete for their national teams both in and out of the regular season. They face the same risk of injury but play for national pride anyway. Why not baseball players? Certainly the risk of injury is a real concern, but guys get injured in spring training all the time anyway. And wasn't it Greg Maddux who was DLed because he ironed his shirt WHILE IT WAS ON? Maybe MLB can reinsure the players/teams against injuries. That doesn't make up for the loss of an injured player, but at least there would be compensation.

As for Sheff, it was funny when he ran his mouth about the trade, this is less amusing, but man what a batting stroke.

2005-07-12 11:24:42
12.   fgasparini
Nice point about cricket Murray--Bud Selig should be looking at India thinking "One. Billion. Fans. One. Billion. Fans." Plus don't forget Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa...
2005-07-12 11:51:28
13.   Jen
fgasparini, the difference between soccer and baseball is that soccer is truly a world sport. It's so huge that they need nearly 2 years worth of qualifying matches in order to pare down the number of teams that make it to the World Cup. Baseball just doesn't have that global presence, and that's ok. It's doesn't take anything away from the sport.

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.

2005-07-12 11:56:47
14.   Schteeve
This is the first I've heard that baseball will not be in the Olympics anymore. You know what? Screw the Olympics. Too American? What is that? Unless I'm completely stupid the U.S. didn't even make it into the tournament last year.

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.

2005-07-12 12:15:10
15.   fgasparini
Jen, soccer also has other international tournaments like the European cup, and things like the Confederations cup in which club sides play but are still "extra" to the regular season.

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.

2005-07-12 12:28:18
16.   vockins
I'm not the biggest fan of soccer/football, so some of these points might be a little inaccurate, but there are a number of reasons why a soccer player would play for his national team that would not apply to a baseball player.

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.

2005-07-12 13:02:03
17.   JL25and3
"I interpreted Sheff commenting on "his season" and "when I get paid" as knowing WHO pays HIS bills"

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.

2005-07-12 13:06:21
18.   fgasparini
vockins, your points are excellent. Some responses:

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.

2005-07-12 13:07:24
19.   billyfrombelfast
Looked pretty clear to me from the home run thing last night that a lot of players would take huge pride in representing their countries. Certainly some of the quotes from Santana and the like indicated that the fans back home would get a huge kick out of it too. Personally (mind you I grew up in a place where international competition is enormous, whether in rugby or football or whatever) when some players expose themselves as the mercenaries they are I feel quite sad. But whatever, I'd be unlikely to watch a baseball world cup anyway. At least until Ireland gets their team together.
2005-07-12 13:14:13
20.   sabo
My Dream Scenario

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.)

2005-07-12 13:18:05
21.   rbj
As for baseball being too American, maybe, if To the IOC by American you must mean North and South American. Plus there's now an East Asian influence too (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Aussie.) Rogge is an ass.

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.

2005-07-12 13:33:21
22.   BFenwick
The All-Star game is an exhibition that barely "counts". Sheff wil go and play 2 or 3 innings, grab $50,000 and barely break a sweat. With a World Cup he'd be expected to hustle, play multiple games in a short span and win. There's a huge difference. Baseball is too broad a sport (162 games, long playoff series) with too much preparation involved to have a great World Cup. Sheff is right. Playing for the USA will never be as big an honor as playing for the NYY.
2005-07-12 13:43:49
23.   pmarcig
"Playing for the USA will never be as big an honor as playing for the Yankees"?? Well..not as long as players have that attitude. And I don't even believe Sheff has that attitude...I think he's more worried about #1 than anything else, and that's ok to a point. I like the idea of a World Classic, but I agree with Cliff that it should be in November. It seems like to big a risk to pitchers playing so early.

And as far as it being "made up" mean like the Olympics? And the All-Star game? It's all "made-up" at one time or another.

2005-07-12 13:58:29
24.   uburoisc
First, Sheff is right, he would be a fool to play for this event, and so would a lot of other MLB players.

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.

2005-07-12 14:00:54
25.   uburoisc
On a side note, maybe if we put a farm team in Gaza, those rock-throwers would finally stop throwing like girls.
2005-07-12 14:01:59
26.   Oscar Azocar
I think that baseball stands to benefit from further international exposure. Does it NEED it? No it does not. But if it wants to continue to expand its fan and talent base, then an world cup style tournament, or even a champions league that sabo suggested (hey, a true WORLD series) would help. My comparison reference for this is basketball. In '92, the NBA didn't need to send the Dream Team over to elevate its status. This was at the height of the Jordan era, where one could argue that the league was at its apex. They did anyway, and it served to further globalize the game to the point where now we've gone from dominators to getting schooled in int'l tournaments. If the NBA has declined since the Jordan era, think of how much worse it would be without its international expansion.

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.

2005-07-12 14:40:45
27.   Patrick
""This isn't the Olympics," he said. "That's a big difference. This is something you made up.""


Sheff is great. No problem with his comments here.

2005-07-12 15:03:37
28.   BFenwick
The HR Derby last night was another example of them trying to force this idea upon everyone. I'm Canadian, so is Jason Bay. I could care less about those facts when it comes to the Derby: I just want to see guys get up there and hack out of their spikes.
2005-07-12 20:00:23
29.   jedi
Your just mad because Bay was a loser and didnt homer. heh

Speaking of home run derby last night. How about those oountry stats when a player came up to bat:

South Korea,
17 players represented in major league history
9 active

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
845 active


2005-07-13 00:10:49
30.   jdasilva
I would think the biggest hurdle here is the pitching. For Sheff, I don't blame him because of his age. For a lot of the younger guys could handle it better. But what other sport is there where the most important individual position is a guy who can only play, at most, 1 of every 2 games or so. 1 of every 5 if he's a starter.
That's why the soccer analogy doesn't work. Sure, it's very draining and probably wears down players, but it's essentially running. They can go and do that every day, practically.

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.

2005-07-13 04:58:06
31.   Toxteth OGrady
"As for baseball being too American, maybe, if To the IOC by American you must mean North and South American. Plus there's now an East Asian influence too (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Aussie.)"

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.

2005-07-13 07:18:13
32.   Simone
As long as the owners are profiting from the baseball world cup, the players have a right to refuse to participate as far as I'm concerned. MLB is just trying to make another buck off the players while promoting the game at a profit. If the owners are serious about promoting baseball internationally, they need to create a non-profit organization to run the world cup and promote the game.
2005-07-13 08:39:18
33.   Jen
Simone, there already is an international organization. the International Baseball Federation.

And they even have a World Cup too.

2005-07-13 08:49:01
34.   JL25and3
Alex, I think you deserve some credit here. This makes 34 comments and counting, some of them rather lengthy - in response to a 4-word blog entry. That's efficiency!
2005-07-13 09:38:24
35.   Marcus
I'm just wondering why, with 34 comments and counting, there hasn't been discussion of Sheff's comments concerning A-Rod. Someone on the Yankees actually sticks up for A-Rod in a big way, basically threatening the Red Sox in the process, and we're not talking about who's plunking who tomorrow?
2005-07-13 09:53:24
36.   Sal V
All I have to say is this, in March 3rd this year major league starting pitchers where pitching only about 3-4 innings the most in spring training ball, having the BBWC that time, means pitcher would be throwing 6+ innings at a time they should be at half that, meaning that after the BBWC they will be ready for a seaons that is still 1 to 2 weeks away leaving them with more innings in Spring than under thier belts, and 162 game regualr season is a lot of games, way more game than any sport, even Soccer, there for leaving players with mmore innings way early in the year, which could only equal more tired arms and injuries when hitting the home stretch in September, they already play enough games as it is
2005-07-13 10:15:10
37.   Simone
Jen, I know about International Baseball Federation (IBAF), but their existence doesn't stop MLB forming their own nonprofit organization to sponsor the World Cup and promote baseball internationally or MLB could just hand over all responsibility to the IBAF. As things stand right now, IBAF will actually get a cut of the profits along with MLB and their various partners. From a financial perspective, this whole competition is sleazy.
2005-07-13 18:41:45
38.   tommyl
To respond to the multiple comments concerning soccer vs. baseball and the WC, it is very different I believe as many have pointed out.

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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