Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Sweet and Meaty
2006-03-09 05:54
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"Outstanding," manager Joe Torre said Wednesday after watching Pavano throw a third time off the mound. "Even though he's a little behind [the other pitchers], I think we're way ahead of where we were last year."

Carl Pavano is making progress while Al Leiter is one step closer to the end of his career. Leiter and Dontrelle Willis were pounded yesterday as the USA fell to Canada. The Americans are now just one loss away from making the Boss sleep just a wee bit better at night.

2006-03-09 06:37:09
1.   The Mick 536
They play. I watch. Differently. Sound off. Only small interest in the outcome.

Cuba/Panama. See the pictures of Fidel throwing and swinging. See Bud and Fidel together. See Cuban player on second base picked off in ninth. See two run homerun. Think game over. Not. Panama comes back. Game goes to 11th. Cuba wins.

If one of the teams had been the Janks, I would have died at least three times.

2006-03-09 07:03:32
2.   Simone
Noo ... The U.S. cannot lose another game. They have reach the finals at least or even better win the WBC. I have been totally sucked in. It is great drama and fun.
2006-03-09 07:19:34
3.   Dimelo
I really enjoyed reading this piece.

I've flip-flopped on the WBC. At first I loved it, then the more I read about it I hated the thing, and now I love it after I started watching the games. I was in the gym watching Cuba vs. Panama and I was in awe at how much each team wanted to win. It was awesome to watch, then I start watching the U.S. vs our neighbors to the north and the Canadians definitely wanted it more.

There's never a good time for the WBC, but after watching a few games I'm convinced that it wasn't such a bad idea and I'd like for the tradition to continue but its flaws need to be fixed. I hate the mercy rule....if a team sucks then let them get humiliated. This isn't little league. These are grown ass men, they can deal with humiliation. Pitch counts need to be increased or done away with. For the next time, they should have training camp open a month earlier before major league training camp starts and have these pitchers ready to go up to at least 85 - 100 pitches. Let them earn a win. Let their be a monetary prize for the winning team. Imagine how far 100K (or more) will go for non MLB players who are playing for the likes of Cuba, Panama, South Africa, etc, etc? If the money is too small an amount for a player like ARod, Jeter, etc, then they can donate that money to their favorite charity - or they can donate it to the toaster.

2006-03-09 07:22:17
4.   vockins
I read in the Times that the Cuba game only sold 2/3 of the tickets. I must be out of touch with the rest of baseball fandom, because Cuba's the only team that intrigues me.

Speaking of Times, the Bonds op-eds have me livid. I can't articulate my issues with them properly because Chass & Co. have me so pissed off. Let's just say I'm motivated to go out and buy a Bonds jersey.

2006-03-09 07:44:45
5.   Rob Gee
Yo D 3,

You seem like a bright guy. Here I'm going to try this out on you. Tell me the flaws:

1) Have the WBC the first week of November (yeah players are worn down, but 3/4 of them don't play in October though they're ready and willing anyways. The ones that do make the playoffs would play a bit more if they CHOOSE to, but then they and their family get a vacation (see #2)and then they have all winter to heal/rest).
2) Rotate locations every three years among Latin America, Europe, Asia, US (gives young Tocho a chance to see MLB'ers up close, a vacation for the players, a chance for fans to bring their money to foreign locales, and Jetes and Mo can chill in Panama)
3) Play regular and intense baseball (e.g., Novemeber means no pitch counts, mercy rules, ties after 14 innings, limits on player AB's, Al Leiter pitching ever, closers in the 9th)
4) The World Series ends, the real World Series begins. What a magical two weeks - first the Yanks win the Serious then we watch Mo pitch to Jetes in the bottom of the 9th with a chance for Panama to go to the finals in their home country.

My god, what could have been...

I really don't see the downside here, though I never cast the most light in class.

2006-03-09 08:10:35
6.   Ben

Seems like a no brainer to me. However, this must have been on the table and was rejected by someone. I just figure that in most baseball matters, the professionals know something more than me and are probably smarter too. Well, except when it comes to steroids. Yeesh, Enron eat our heart out. Seems like the whole country was looking the other way in the late 90's, see Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson, Home Runs, North Korea, Afganistan....

2006-03-09 08:16:43
7.   Shaun P
I understand the injury concerns etc for people dropping out of the WBC - but c'mon, what the heck are Gary Majewski and Al Leiter doing out there in a situation like that?! What are they even doing on the team? There really weren't any better middle relievers available?

And, for that matter, why is Buck Martinez managing the US team? The US couldn't find a better manager than Buck Martinez? Why not Cito Gaston? Or Davey Johnson? Or Tom Kelly? Or Sparky Anderson?

I'm still not happy with the timing etc but I've definitely caught the WBC bug. To lose in the finals is one thing. But it will be awful if the US goes out in the first round.

2006-03-09 08:21:55
8.   standuptriple
It's good to see your change of heart on the WBC. It's hard for true fans of the game to discount the level of intensity/importance of these games to the Latin and non-MLBers. I think it might even have a trickle-down affect on the jaded multi-millionaires too.
There are flaws, but nothing new goes perfect. I'd like to see the mercy rule eliminated, but while listening to a game last night Javy Lopez got beaned immediately after back-to-back HR's. Bad form, unless they were admiring their bombs, then by all means bean away. Things like that won't help lure the major pros. If some career minor leaguer wants to put one in your ear because his pride got hurt, whether he's overmatched or not, should be monitored and prevented at all costs. One of the biggest arguments against the WBC was a player getting hurt. I for one didn't think any player on these teams would intentionally hurt an opponent, but I guess I shouldn't have given them that much credit. Part of what they need to get them this far is their desire to win. I'm not making excuses for them though.
One thing about the pitch count that I am enjoying is that it's forcing pitchers to throw strikes. Getting ahead of the hitter or challenging them to put it in play seems to be a lost art and pitchers not nit-picking the corners leads to quicker games IMO. If these guys go out there and have efficient innings they can get more appearances in this format. It's a refreshing change.
I see so much potential in the WBC to display the best of baseball. Cubans getting picked at second is not one of them. I am disappointed in the reluctance of players to move the runner and sacrifice. I really expected more of that, but once again maybe I'm giving them too much credit. I'm said it before and I'll say it again, I believe the team that plays the most fundamental/pure baseball will win this tournament.
I'm all for the MLBers donating their portion to The Toaster. Good luck with that.
2006-03-09 08:33:41
9.   Shawn Clap
I think the WBC needs to be played, it should be played in March rather than November. Because the baseball season should end with an exclaimation point (World Series) rather than a post-script (WBC).

I think yesterday's US/Canada game pretty much sums up the WBC for me. One inning they misplay a ball in the corner resulting in an inside-the-parker. The next inning they relay for a dead-on play at the plate.

It's just spring training, it's just an exhibition.

2006-03-09 08:36:48
10.   bp1
The WBC as it is played now is not real baseball.

For instance.

Who would pull A-Rod in the 6th inning for a pinch runner?

The USA vs Mexico game was over in two hours and six minutes. Holy Smokes, Michael Kay can hardly get through his monologue in that short of a time.

Yes, I find it interesting. Yes, the "nationalism" is visible in the fans and some of the players. But let's not confuse this with real baseball. These are exhibition games with specific rules for player use. They are fun to watch, and people can get excited if they wish, but it's not "balls to the wall" real baseball.


2006-03-09 08:58:01
11.   Rob Gee
Shawn -

I think the exclamation/post-script point 9 is the most problematic. See, I think that was the risk that suits 6 weren't willing to take. They don't want to lose attention/money from the World Series. But here's where I think that argument falls short.

1) Most of the country (see Nielsen ratings), and probably the world, could care less about the World Series if their team is not in it.

2) Having a legit, real baseball tourney after the World Series provides an even bigger exclamation point. It's the All-Star game to end all All-Star games and with nationalism thrown in to boot. Plus, you have people watching ALL of the games because of the players/matchups involved and not just for two innnings or AB's.

3) One last chance to engage all those what if scenarios - Would Mo get out Jeter in November? Would Pedro strike out Manny? Baseball truly is an international sport - it desreves a showcase like this, for the players, fans, and countries.

4) It would only happen every few (three or four) years. How much damage could it do? And a week long tourney on Espn would definitely generate more cash for the league, more tourist dollars for the host nation(s), and more fun, and real, baseball.

Again, am I crazy, or could this really work?

2006-03-09 09:02:15
12.   Dimelo
Yo Gee, I agree your idea does sound good. I'll add a few more ideas, there has to be some type of monetary compensation for the top 3 teams. Kind of like a gold, silver and bronze medal, but with money - I would love to see a young Cuban ball player who will never make it to the majors go home with a nice chunk of cash. It also has to be done in a country with a warm climate or a place with enough indoor facilities to accommodate for all the games to be played. Remember, it will interfere with the NFL and college football seasons, so no games on the weekends. Let the players rest and enjoy their time off; wherever the host country might be.

The bottom line is that these games must be made to mean something in order for the WBC to be successful. The League of Nations didn't work out the first time around - ironically because it wasn't accepted by the very country who came up with the idea (kinda sounds like the WBC). The 2nd time around the United Nations was accepted, however some would argue if it even works but at least it's present and serves a purpose -- though many Iraqi's are still trying to figure out what that purpose might be as another suicide bomber blows himself up in the middle of a crowded area. Anyhow back to baseball and my point.....the point I'm trying to make is that many things don't work the first time around, but the idea is not a bad one and its shortcomings should and must be fixed to make it work. For me….the most important thing that needs to be eliminated from the WBC is the idea that they are exhibition games. If the people running the WBC can convince the Shawn Clap's and bp1's then it will be more generally accepted - kinda like the UN and the U.S.

2006-03-09 09:06:50
13.   Dimelo
Gee-Money, you are crazy but not because of your WBC ideas. You are crazy because you think Milton Bradley would be a good option for the Yanks....sorry...I couldn't resist.
2006-03-09 09:10:16
14.   tocho
the problems with playing during November are (i) NFL has already started, (ii) some players (and fans) are going to be exhausted (physically and mentally) after the month-long playoffs, and forcing them to play like that could lead to injuries, and (iii) it would take a lot off the WS (truly the best baseball showcase), from a players perspective (probably Mo would not like to give it all out during the WS to play for Panama) and from a fan's perspective.

i like the tournament to be played in March, I for one was starving for some meaningful baseball and I also think that it will provide for some moments of revenge during the playoffs.

I am aware of the flaws of the WBC rules, however, they make for exciting games (given that there are no 3, 5 or 7 game series).

as for the venue changes, they would be nice but all the tournament should be played in one country (like the World Cup) and every 4 years.

2006-03-09 09:17:36
15.   Ben
My vote was to play it during the All-Star break inplace of that game every four years. You could still showcase a ML city, weather is good everywhere then, everyone is in top form. No one asked me though. Oh well.
2006-03-09 09:23:43
16.   Simone
As far as I can tell the WBC is an exhibition All Star game to the U.S. only. The other countries are playing like it is life and death. Did you see the Canadians celebrate after beating the U.S.?

I read that MLB gave the U.S., and to a lesser degree the Canadians and Puerto Ricans scouting reports on the other countries. Yet, the U.S. still couldn't beat the Canadians?! What the hell is that about? Buck Martinez is managing like a dumbass. This isn't the All Star game. If the U.S. can't do any better than the 1st round, I writing MLB a nasty letter about him and the players.

If the U.S. is going to participate in the WBC, the least they could do is try their damnest to win and if they can't do that then don't f'ing embarass us (those of us who care anyway) by managing and playing like wimps. They look pathetic compared to the Venezuelans, Cubans, Dominicans, Canadians, and Panamians.

vockins, I read the heading of that Bonds editoral and decided to give it a miss like I do most articles in the Times now. The Times' sports section also had a couple "pay to read" articles claiming that George Steinbrenner who gives millions to military families wasn't a patriot because he didn't support the WBC. Who edits this paper?

2006-03-09 09:27:47
17.   Sliced Bread
8 Standup, are you saying only 'true fans of the game' regard these WBC games as significant?
I can see why some fans are excited about it, but I consider myself a 'true baseball fan,' (how do you qualify this?) and I couldn't care less who wins this exhibition tournament.
No matter how you slice it, these are exhibition games. When Al Leiter is representing the best of the US, and Alex Rodgriguez is healthy and on the bench, and Hideki Matsui isn't representing Japan, and pitchers are limited to pitch counts, etc. you looking at a tournament that has zero credibility in my eyes.
Doesn't matter when or where you play it -- but I'd be more likely to care about these games if they didn't interfere with the preparation for the Major League season.

As it the tournament is right now, US vs Canada means as much to me as a split-squad game between the Royals and Brewers.

2006-03-09 09:32:27
18.   Rob Gee
Tocho -

i) NFL starts in October. People watch both. But sure schedule the first round (play-in) during the week. Schedule the finals around football on the weekend. Take Sunday off maybe,

ii) 3/4 of the players don't play in the playoffs. But they were sure as heck ready to. Mo has been bounced early the last two years. You're telling me he wouldn't love to have another shot at winning something meaningful.

iii) Taking away from the WS is the best counter-point I can think of 11 and probably why the suits went away from it. I think it would be a bigger exclamation point because after the best team you'd see the best nation. Then we could debate if the Yankees could beat the Dominicans. Plus, the vast majority of fans don't care as soon as their team is d-u-n. This gives them a reason to care esp. because their players would be on different teams. I know I would love to see Jetes bat against Mo with the game on the line. Good times! But injuries, I would much rather see someone get hurt in November than March. Maybe I should be hoping for this (like Ortiz tears his knees- word?) so the suits make changes (among other reasons).

And I think you keep the pretty much the same format - in one week you'd have to. 3 game pool-based play-in then single elimination (with loser bracket). No long series. Teams play six games (to win) in seven days.

One country is tough because of the politics - one region is better (like the Cricket World Cup). That way, the early round is in Korea and China. Final round in Japan. Or Latin America same deal. Though maybe one country could work - countries compete based on best infrastructure, encourages development/ long-term tourism.

And D, you bet on the cash. Throw some loot their way, and of course the travel is paid for. Plus the team that wins is truly a winner. As a second round of playoffs it would mean something.

See, from my perspective, MLB blew a chance to do it right. Do it tonight.

2006-03-09 09:56:04
19.   unpopster
14 Tocho wrote:

"(ii) some players (and fans) are going to be exhausted (physically and mentally) after the month-long playoffs, and forcing them to play like that could lead to injuries"

I'd actually have to disgaree with you on this point. My uneducated guess tells me that it would be much harder for a MLB player to "turn in off" for the WBC rather than the current situation, where players are expected to "turn it on" sooner than they had expected to -- which WOULD and WILL lead to injuries. Therefore, players may be a little exhausted in November but the competitive fires smoldering in them throughout the summer would still be least I hope they would.

Plus, as Dimelo pointed out, 2/3 of the players would have already had a short reprieve from the grind during the MLB playoffs to recharge their batteries.

Which, now that I look at that last paragraph, may actually result in the "turning it off" scenario that I was just disputing.

Hell, what do I know?!?!

2006-03-09 10:02:56
20.   Sliced Bread
Good suggestions, Gee, but how do you get around the biggest problem with this type of tournament: the fact that a team can lose one and be done (a la NCAA tourney)?

Any professional-level baseball team can beat another group of pros on any given day, or even over 3 days (anybody remember Royals-v-Yanks last year?).
That's why the MLB season is 6 months long, and why teams face off in playoff series, not individual matchups.
Let's see Canada try to take 3-of-5, or 4-of-7 from the US. Let's see nations qualify to make the tournament, and then you have something meaningful.
Until that happens, the WBC will never be more than an exhibition tournament.

2006-03-09 10:18:23
21.   Rob Gee

Ah, er, there's the rub. The play-in round is the closest approximation. Play three games against your pool. Top two advance.

After that it has be single elimination (with a losers bracket). I agree that it's not ideal. But I think it's not a bad way to go. The pressure to win would be intense and in November many more stars would play. For me, that would make it much better than an exhibition.

Plus, you could lose against someone in your pool, but still get another shot at them. Especially if there was some seeding used to structure the pools, rather than just geography.

2006-03-09 10:21:44
22.   haderondah
I'd like to comment regarding the complaints that this tourament isn't real baseball with respect to the pitch counts and single elimination contests, etc.

In my view baseball consists of pitching, hitting, and fielding, all of which is present in this tournament. The quirky rules in this tournament simply require a revision of the strategies developed in different formats. A team still must find a way to win eight games in this format and they must do so given the limitations provided by the rules.

I am certain, if this tournament continues, and I hope it does, we will see an evolution of strategy designed to win these games. Frankly, I think that can and probably will be quite interesting. The managers of each team will likely take on a great deal of significance as this thing evolves.

2006-03-09 10:23:22
23.   Dimelo
Quick note on the Yanks, looks like Wright is getting ready for the bullpen. I'm glad 2 2/3 is about all he can take.

Jaret Wright went 22/3 innings, gave up two runs and three hits. Wright didn't allow a hit until there were two out in the third."Toward the end, for a couple of hitters my legs got tired and the ball was up," Wright said after a Yankees' 8-3 victory over the split-squad Pirates.

"Up until that, I felt good."

Yankees won their fourth straight and are 4-3 this spring.

2006-03-09 10:38:07
24.   standuptriple
What I was trying to say (perhaps poorly) is that "true fans of the game", IMO, appreciate a well played/executed/passionate performance regardless of the outcome. I kind of hinted to that later. Maybe I was over-generalizing and if I offended anyone I meant no disrespect. I consider this forum an upper-eschelon of fan and kind of presume you are all like me. I shouldn't do that because I like the well thought out differences of opinions here.
2006-03-09 10:38:14
25.   Cliff Corcoran
I'll admit to only skimming most of the above, but I did catch in 14 where Tocho suggests that Mo would ease up in the World Series to save some for a November WBC. Shame on you, Tocho, for suggesting that Rivera, who isn't even participating in the WBC right now so that he can get his proper work in in spring training, would give anything less than his all in any situation, let alone with the season on the line.

Dimelo, I got a similar impression from Wright's performance yesterday. I think Wright's been the odd man out from the beginning. I also think he could make a positive contribution from the pen until his shoulder tears again. That said, Wang will have to show that his first start was merely the result of rust when he takes the hill again on Saturday.

2006-03-09 10:51:39
26.   Sliced Bread
24 Agreed, Standup, well said.
2006-03-09 11:14:46
27.   tocho
OK, bad example with Mo, but I think the point is still valid.
2006-03-09 12:26:28
28.   Start Spreading the News
Two words on why WBC in November is better: March Madness

The past few days I have had the option of watching Al Leiter pitch and A-Rod sit on the bench or watch a bunch of college kids play their heart out in conference tournaments and hit buzzer beaters to win games.

Give me college basketball in a heartbeat.

In November, WBC would lose to football on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. So you play baseball around that schedule. Big deal!

March Madness is going on all night with a game every day for two weeks with conference tournaments and then the first couple of rounds of the NCAA and NIT.

This time WBC is exhibition. It counts for nothing. The best players are not all playing for fear of injury.

Next time, put it in November. If there is an injury, you have all winter to recover. And there are fewer sports to compete with for the viewer's attention.

Maybe they could even put it on regular TV at night time during the week, instead of the Latin Sports channel during the day. It would just mean one less CSI knock off on primetime...

2006-03-09 12:41:13
29.   bloodyank78
Chris Shelton went yard against RJ in the first; this happened last week against Philly, is this worrying anyone? I know he was our horse last season, but he gave up a lot of f'ing homers.
2006-03-09 13:15:21
30.   rbj
Shelton's not a bad hitter, and even Marcus Thames went yard against the Unit -- his first big league hit, IIRC (2001, I think). It's only a problem if it's a trend.
2006-03-09 13:20:31
31.   YankeeInMichigan
I agree with Ben (15). Follow the Olympic hockey model, and play the WBC every 4 years in place of the All-Star Game. The Classic should be played in several cities in the same region so that travel will not be a factor. Eliminating off days, the series can then be compressed to 8 days (3 for Round 1, 3 for Round 2, semi-finals, finals). The MLB schedule makers will then need to account for the lost week by means of reduced off-days and doubleheaders. (An interesting side effect is that, in a WBC season, team depth will be more valued.)

The biggest drawback here is that the WBC will need to be played exclusively in the Western Hemisphere. But if MLB is sponsoring it, they can host it.

2006-03-09 13:23:42
32.   Start Spreading the News
Bloodyank78, relax. It is only spring training. At this time of year, sometimes pitchers don't care about fooling batters as much as getting mechanics down. There are entire starts where all they do is throw fastballs. It is NO big deal.

Now if he does this opening day, we can blow our collective gasket...

2006-03-09 13:26:27
33.   wsporter
SPN, it's March. What was Johnson throwing? What was he working on today? If he's giving these up in May I'll worry.

Matt DeSalvo started the other split squad game today against the Phillies. I am really curious to see this guy. The scouting report they did on him at has him rated as a top of the rotation starter as opposed to the majority view as a number 4 or 5 starter! Wow! I've read a lot about him but never seen him. Anyone had a chance to take a look?

2006-03-09 13:47:54
34.   uburoisc
So long as the WBC makes it easier for Cuban ballplayers to defect, then I'm OK with it. The rest is just spring training for the US players.
2006-03-09 15:06:49
35.   Rob
I have to say, for me baseball is baseball. I'll take it in any form I can get. I've been really enjoying the WBC thus far, especially watching the latin teams slug it out.

I don't think there's any 'best' time to stage it, but I think having it during the spring is most likely the best (I also like the mid season break every few years scenario).

I'm not all that concerned about the injury risk. Players can get hurt using q-tips (Henry Cotto) or pulling on their cowboy boots (wasn't that Wade Boggs) so injuries will always be around.

2006-03-09 15:28:54
36.   brockdc
Interesting. From my perspective - and I realize it is a relatively unpopular one - the WBC is pointless. For MLB, it is an excuse to further merchandise its brand. Because I'm a Yankee fan - not a Team USA fan - my desire for another W.S. championship far outweighs any sort of gratification I'd get from A-Rod or Jeter winning it all with the U.S. If one of those guys goes down, the chances of even making the playoffs plummets.

When it comes to sports, I have no particular allegience to any one country (hell, I root against Team USA basketball every time the summer olympics roll around). So, for me at least, nationalism/patriotism doesn't hold a great deal of allure.

2006-03-09 17:35:46
37.   Simone
This is so aggravating! Even Mexico can hit Canada's pitching. Oh well, let's see how it goes in this game. I didn't know that Loiaza was Mexican.
2006-03-09 18:16:19
38.   greenfuzz
I can't understand people defending Bonds, the original article is not from the NYT it's in SI. That article is really an excerpt from a book written by SF chronicle writers. And it's a really good article, well researched and backed up, so if that's anything to judge by the book should be great. The Times is playing catch up and basically trying to recap a story that was reported in other outlets. So putting down Chass and the Times is pointless, the real story is in SI, read it and weep.

Pick up SI, read it through and then tell me it's BS. Because you'll realize it's not, it's good reporting. Bonds is not only a total creep but a committed cheat. So are other people too, but Bonds is the one whose record is really in the balance.

About the WBC, I was against the whole thing but found myself watching it because I'm sick that way, I miss baseball. I think I will laugh if the USA loses, it proves we didn't send good players in good shape. But if we go out in the first round I think the tournament is toast. Secretly, I am hoping that Clemens gets peppered. I just somehow will feel happy if that happens.

I am routing for Cuba, the only country with an actual, born and bred team that plays together. The USA team started playing together 3 days before the tournament and it's an exhibition and spring training to them. They are all going to be embarrased if they lose, but if they can get spanked by Canada they should lose. I think that if we lose in the first round, the tournament is in unlikely to be played ever again.

If it is going to continue, it should replace the all-star break every four years. Everyone hates the All-star game, it's even more fake than the WBC, so just skip it that year and have the all-star team be the wbc team. March is just not when players are in shape to play.

2006-03-09 19:19:40
39.   wsporter
Greenfuz, The All-Star break is 3 days. How would you fit all the games that comprise this tournament into 3 days? Are you proposing that the season be shut down for several weeks during the summer?

Part of what makes the baseball season a process that identifies the best teams by the end of the season is the relatively uninterrupted length of the season. It's a marathon, the selection process requires that you usually have to be good to survive and advance to the playoffs. If you remove that dynamic I think you fundamentally change the nature of the playoff selection process. I'm not sure I'd be in favor of that.

Hockey is one thing. I can live without the NHL for a couple of weeks. All the teams that are anywhere near decent make the playoffs anyway. Baseball is a different creature. Why change that every four years so we can pretend we're soccer fans?

I'm not trying to be combative but if the choice is screwing with Spring Training or the MLB season every couple of years then I say lets compromise the games that don't count.

I'm not really crazy about the November idea either. See Rob I knew we'd get to disagree again. My objection is pretty simple. I like the idea that the Serious is the ultimate event of the season. Add the WBC and it becomes the penultimate event and is therefore devalued.

If this thing is going to be foisted on us every couple of years then I say give up some of the spring and leave it at that. I hate to admit it but I did see some of the Cuba/PR game. It was pretty cool. I love baseball and watch it anywhere I can. If the tournament produces good ball as is, great. Leave it alone. Have fun. Leave the MLB season alone and don't devalue the World Series. That's about as worked up as I can get over this.

2006-03-09 19:32:10
40.   wsporter
I don't believe what I just saw. A guy named Orr wearing number 4 (how cool is that?) just took one off the coconut from DeLarosa. He took it off the head on purpose, for the team! Canada is down 9-1. He leaned into it like he was ass ending into a 68 mph changeup, except he did it with his head. Again, Canada is down 9-1. I love baseball.
2006-03-09 19:41:16
41.   susan mullen
Allan Selig's job is to make money for owners.
He's a salesman. And he threw out some lines for people to bite on. Baseball is already quite popular in Cuba. 3 people were executed there
in the past year for trying to leave. Selig now
cavorts for global cameras with a murderer/
torturer/dictator.I'm not sure how his personal endorsement of this kind of psychotic demon advances the love of baseball in Nepal, but no one questions it. They sat together at a game
in 1999. He's got all of you talking about a
question that has no answer, or at least whose
answer would always be never, ie when is the
best time to haul the horseflesh away from their employers, fans, team mates & families to make even
money for Allan (Bud).
2006-03-09 20:18:53
42.   Simone
Now that Canada lost by a lot, all the U.S. has to do is beat South Africa and they are on to the next round. They can beat South Africa, right? Even if they treat it as an exhibition? Let's hope so.

Oh, Gourriel is the name of the amazingly talented Cuban kid.

2006-03-09 20:37:28
43.   Rob Gee
wsport -

The Serious is already devalued - look at the (Nielsen) numbers. In November, the WBC will:

1) Draw in more people (keep fans interested who would flee to football once their team is bounced)

2) Spur development and create tourism in the nations its needed (have it in Santo Domingo)

3) Become more competitive (players are done for the season with their formal obligations to their employers)

4) Pull in more league revenue (through increased advertising).

et al. -

During the All-star break we lose #3 above.

2006-03-09 21:21:13
44.   wsporter
Rob, If the Serious is in fact devalued I would argue that we should find ways to reinvigorate it rather than further devalue it.

As to 1 - the NFL fans will split regardless. 2 - How much of the money will stick in the host countries after expenses? Not enough to make this thing worthwhile from a development POV. 3 - I agree but (and with all due respect) I really don't care and 4 - They'll be in direct competition with the NFL behemoth for add revenue. How much better will they do then they are doing now when there is no realistic competition other than conference tournament NCAA's.

I whish we could find a way to make this thing work without making it appear to be the naked dollar grab I think it is and without hurting what I think is the best dollar for dollar entertainment value I have ever heard of - M.L. Baseball. Do you really care enough about this thing to screw with the season or the Series? I don't know Rob, I just don't see how it can mean that much.

2006-03-09 21:27:13
45.   wsporter
Rob, BTW did you see that guy Orr lean his head into that big loopy wide curve. It was freaking hysterical. I had the sound down and was casually watching when I saw it. It wasn't quite like the time I saw the flying pig steal a car but it was right there. Makes you doubt the reality of your own existance.
2006-03-10 05:28:26
46.   Rob Gee
wsport -

The Serious is devalued once the teams of fans get bounced. The WBC, with all the major players, give them a reason to keep watching (see below). No amount of marketing or reinvorgation is going to get the average Yankee fan to watch the White Sox play the Astros. If you can get even a fraction to watch Nov. WBC it's a success without harming the Serious.

Response to criticisms of Nov. WBC:

1) Fans won't split for two reasons:
a) Schedule around NFL/college games during the week and on the weekends - no competition there.
b) Provide compelling match-ups with more of the major players actually playing (the whole game too) in a competitive environment. My prototype example here is Jeter vs. Mo at the end of a game. That would be sweet.

2) Host countries give infrastructure to get tourist dollars (e.g., 50,000 peeps dropping $1,000 each over a week - hotels, food, trinkets - equals 50 million alone. That doesn't even include journalists and the players, coaches, management, etc. Further (in an ideal world) I could imagine MLB donating (yeah, right!) any profits to the host country for the development of furture ballplayers (fields, equipment, academies) and calling it a big write-off. That would at least help with the money-grabbing argument - too bad it will never happen.

3) You'll care when Mo is trying to get out Jetes or A-Rod with the game on the line and a chance to go to the finals at stake. And, actually you already care enough to watch an unknown Canadian player take one in the head by an unknown Mexican player (sorry, I'm not interested enough now). You're already watching! That's all the suits want.

4) They won't be in direct competition cause they'll program around the NFL. Primetime (with lesser known games during the day) on Tuesday, Wed, Thurs nights on Espn would surely draw more eyeballs than regional college BB or early season NBA games - more eyes equals mo' money.

You know, I think I care because it just comes down to a wasted opportunity - if you're going do it, do it right, baby. And I love baseball. It deserves the best World showcase because of all the American athletic exports, it is truly international on the American pro circuit. The NBA is moving in that direction but it's not even close. Plus, without the Olympics, baseball needs a way to show off their best at their best and for their native lands so that it's not just stamped as an American outcome (the Serious) but captures many more minds. To the average fan, seeing the Domincan Republic crush the US would be huge but only when all of the major players are actually playing. And I know I would love to go watch a pro game in Santo Domingo.

2006-03-10 06:20:33
47.   wsporter
Rob, now this really annoys me. After an evenings reflection I realized that what turned me off from the start about the WBC is the timing of the event. I didn't want Spring Training interrupted. So I guess moving the tournament to a different time of year would satisfy the majority of my problem with it. The sleazy, overly convenient feel it has in my mind will probably disappear in time. If there is a way to move it to the fall or early winter without screwing with the Serious that would be a good thing. So I guess maybe I agree with you. Crap, there's my whole day shot.
2006-03-10 06:41:11
48.   Rob Gee
LOL - whew, if I can convince you, wsport, there may be hope still. Let the grassroots campaign begin! Call your senators! Email the commissioner! Pay Jack to see the president!

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