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Thread: 09 WBC venues, pools, and rules changes announced

  1. #41
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    Remember one thing

    This is being put on by Major League Baseball. They are taking away stars form Spring Training, and, allegedly, hurting the bottom line there. There is NO WAY they won't all play each other. That's $$$ for MLB, and also it is less likely players for those weaker teams are going to take the time and hassle to fly to flaming Tokyo or Mexico City to play 2 games and come home. They'll play out the string. They better. I don't want to fly to Mexico City either, which is my plan right now, and then not get to see a game because South Africa or Australia is already eliminated. Screw that. Play them all. It's good for business, it's good for the fans, and its good for teams like South Africa to face Mexico's and Cuba's as often as possible.

    I think Australia can put together a pretty good team, but I would have to think Cuba and Mexico are the favorites in that pool.

    I think Korea's professional league is further advanced than in Taiwan, and a lof of the Taiwanese position players are pretty low levels right now. It could go either way, but I would pick Korea over Taiwan in that pool, to advance with Japan.

    Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic should come out of Puerto Rico fairly easily.

    I think there is potential for an upset in Toronto. I think it is possible for US-Canada, I think it is possible US-Venenzuela, and I think it possible for Canada-Venezuela.

    Just hurry up and annouce the second round, and tell me it is in San Diego so I can attend all the games, and maybe work some O.T. patrolling some of the events surrounding the tourney!

  2. #42
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    It seems like the lower ranked nations are the only losers with the new format. They’re likely to get one less game on the WBC stage. This discussion has brought that to the surface. My question is “Can there be a better format?”
    The following doesn’t deviate too much from the previous format:
    In a pool of four teams the three way tie is the problem. Let’s look at the only the two 3-way tie scenarios possible, from the 2006 WBC. Both are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

    PHP Code:
    1)Pool B        Tiebreaker
       Mexico 2
    -1    1-11.59 RA/9
       USA    2
    -1    1-14.00 RA/9
       Canada 2
    -1    1-17.50 RA/9
       RSA    0
    -
    The team with the lowest Runs Allowed per 9 innings (RA/9), in this case, Mexico advances to the next round, but a tiebreaker game where the USA hosts Canada is played to determine the second berth. This format wouldn’t take more than 7 games and every team would play each other. The other scenario is more complicated, because there is only one berth available.

    PHP Code:
    2)Pool 1          Tiebreaker
       Korea   3
    -0
       Japan   1
    -2    1-12.50 RA/9
       USA     1
    -2    1-12.64 RA/9
       Mexico  1
    -2    1-13.50 RA/
    In this case Mexico would be eliminated, because it has the highest RA/9, therefore Japan hosts the USA in a tiebreaker game to advance to the next round. Again, this format wouldn’t take more than 7 games and every team would play each other. There is a double standard, but remember a team with a winning record will only be eliminated on the field and a team with a losing record can be eliminated by a formula.
    Last edited by SouthwestAmAZins; 03-26-2008 at 02:02 PM.

  3. #43
    Knockout is a poor choice for baseball as we know it, where major league teams have at least five pitchers and lower level teams have at least three, rather than one as in the 1870s. This point probably cuts deepest regarding the ultimate matchup of two "finalists" that determines the champion. After the first championship series in 1884 (three games), major league baseball experimented with playing series longer than seven games but never with shorter than best of seven.

    Double-elimination has some poor features if the field is tiny (four or fewer) or the purpose is to identify two or more winners rather than one (as in a qualifying round). For determining one champion in a field of five or more, as in the college world series before the 1990s(?), I think it's pretty good. The uncertain end date or uncertain ending in the first or second game of a doubleheader is a commercial problem.

    If run as a pre-scheduled round-robin whose games are simply canceled if one or both teams have two defeats, then the final standing relative to round-robin depends on the sequence of matchups. It's difficult to argue that a team eliminated in two or three games was the best performing team in the event, so it may seem fair to all if the agreed purpose is to crown a single champion. On the other hand, it's commonly obvious that a team was an early loser mainly because it faced strong opponents early, which is an unhappy compromise if the purpose is to identify two winners or first and second, and a competitive disaster if third place and lower final rankings matter.

    If organized as a winners bracket and losers bracket rather than the adjusted round-robin just described, then double-elimination seems to me (1) a great way to identify first and second in a preliminary round, (2) a good way to determine a single winner, and (3) with some numbers, a good way to determine larger numbers of winners/survivors.

    --
    As others have mentioned:
    For WBC first round, taking for granted groups of four, scattered over the globe,
    (a) double-elimination of any kind has the commercial and promotional disadvantages that some teams and fans travel a long way at great expense to play only two games, and some showcases are not showcased
    (b) taking for granted the primary competitive purpose to identify two advancers among four teams, double-elimination has the advantage of avoiding three-way ties from which one or two should advance, which must be common under round-robin as soon as there is a significant degree of balance in the field.

    No one has mentioned
    the other competitive advantage of double-elimination with a winners bracket and losers bracket as a way to identify two advancers from a field of four.
    (c) It avoids matches between one team whose fate has been decided and another whose fate is in the balance. --where the former has the "free" opportunity to help its friend or hurt its enemy and also, if it is a certain advancer, has an incentive to rest its good pitchers. (The incentive to rest depends on the time lag between rounds and between games in the entire tournament.)

    In a four-team round robin with two to advance, the standing after two rounds will commonly be
    2-0
    1-1
    1-1
    0-2
    where 2-0 and 0-2 have already met. In those cases, if 2-0 plays first and loses or 0-2 plays first and wins, the fate of the other has been decided before its final match, yet that final match will determine the fate of its opponent --one may say "half" of the fate in that a 3-way tie is one of the two outcomes.

    Double-elimination with winners bracket and losers bracket avoids that potentially ugly, always disconcerting "incentive failure" by ruling that regardless of how the four teams reach those standings, 2-0 is IN and 0-2 is OUT and 1-1 meets 1-1 to determine the other advancer.

    Beside (b) there is another corresponding disadvantage.
    (d) It ensures that the ideal first-round scenario never unfolds: four teams at 1-1 with two do-or-die matches.

    There is another advantage depending on the constraints concerning total numbers of games played.
    (e) To illustrate the general point, suppose 16 teams and only two alternatives:
    i - two prelims with groups of four followed by 4-team knockout:
    : : advance two of four from each group by double-elim with losers bracket (16 => 8)
    : : advance two of four from each group by double-elim with losers bracket (8 => 4)
    : : 4-team knockout
    -ii- one round-robin prelim with groups of four followed by 8-team knockout
    : : advance two of four from each group using playoffs or pencil and paper tie-breakers (16 => 8)
    : : 8-team knockout

    The former provides at least 20 first-round and 10 second-round matches where the latter provides at least 24 and 4. In other words, under some circumstances, a move to two double-elim prelims curtails the round-robins that involve all teams in favor of more matches among the eight quarterfinalists.
    Last edited by Paul Wendt; 03-30-2008 at 01:54 PM. Reason: clarify i and ii

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by NewEnglandAmazins View Post
    It seems like the lower ranked nations are the only losers with the new format. They’re likely to get one less game on the WBC stage. This discussion has brought that to the surface. My question is “Can there be a better format?”
    The following doesn’t deviate too much from the current format:
    In a pool of four teams the three way tie is the problem.
    . . .
    this format wouldn’t take more than 7 games and every team would play each other. There is a double standard, but remember a team with a winning record will only be eliminated on the field and a team with a losing record can be eliminated by a formula.
    I agree, this is a good suggestion. Break three-way ties once by pencil and paper, determining the first of two teams to advance or the first of two to be eliminated; and once on the field, determining which of the other two advances and which does not.

    By the way, those six or seven games played match the number in a traditional double-elimination among four teams, played to the conclusion that produces one winner.

    --
    Here is another suggestion, more radical but feasible for the first of two prelim rounds, for a sport like baseball that can be played daily. In the US we are accustomed to off-days for some teams and to different numbers of games played by different teams who advance.

    Schedule the first prelim in advance, sell tickets and air time, and play it out as scheduled. If there is a 3-way tie then all advance! Get on the plane, away to the second-round prelim site(s), although we need to do a little paperwork to decide who plays whom where. --can't do fixed so-called cross-scheduling that depends on one first place and one second place advancing from each prelim.

    In effect the three tied teams --of whom organizers hoped that only one or two would advance-- do advance but they also suffer a second-round disadvantage because they begin playing first.

    You can work out some possibilities with pencil and paper. This can't provide a fixed number of teams in round two or provide any fixed cross-schedule games at particular second-round sites. It requires everyone at a single second-round site ("Omaha"); or variable, unknown in advance, numbers of teams and games at multiple second-round sites; or second-round sites within a medium-size host country with easy travel, that is effectively one site.

  5. #45
    This is an excellent discussion. Lots of good points. I think these posts underscore the complexity of designing an ideal sporting tournament. There are a host of considerations--competitiveness, travel, rest, predictability, fan interest etc.--which factor into the mix. It seems to me there's no perfect way to balance all of those.

    My personal preference is to maximize the number of high stakes games. The major factor, I think, that makes the NCAA basketball championship so captivating is its single elimination format. Every game matters, as does what happens on the court: Win the game and you advance, lose and you go home.

    International baseball doesn't have 64 teams to draw from--or even 32 like the soccer World Cup. But the double-elimination format, I think, allows the tournament to come as close as possible to the excitement of a single elimination tournament with only 16 teams. It's not perfect, by any means. There will be redundancy. And, yes, some matchups won't take place. But there will be many, many nail-biting moments where a single pitch or at-bat will make or break a team's chances.

    I can't wait.

  6. #46
    Rally Monkey, a single elimination tournament would naturally generate excitement, but as you pointed out there are many factors that go into organizing a tournament of which excitement is just one. Tournament organizers also have to factor in one of the main purposes of the tournament: to determine a winning team. As Paul Wendt said, knockout is a poor way to determine a winner in baseball. That's true for other sports which is why most major sporting tournaments have some kind of round-robin group stage to determine the best teams that should be fairly evenly matched for knockout stages (besides, round-robins generate more money from fans since it entails more matches than simple knockout). That said though double-elimination, despite it's drawbacks (as amply demonstrated by Paul Wendt) does seem to have the important aspect of providing more excitement (and potential controversy) than round-robin, but allowing for more matches (good for fans and good for the organizers monetarily) than single elimination. A single elimination WBC would only have 15 games (and would be over all too soon), whereas the round-robin and double-elimination formats yield 39 games.

    Of course, one of the surest ways of determining the absolute best team is to have a round-robin league involving all the teams. Thus when all is said and done the team at the top of the heap would be the best and all the other teams would automatically be sorted into their final standings by the points they've gained from the various games. However, with a 16 team WBC this would require 120 games! (and for 2013 with 24 teams such a format would require 276 games). Apart from the numerous match-ups that wouldn't be appealing to most fans (e.g. Dominican Republic v. China, Japan v. South Africa), the tournament would take months (and would probably interrupt the MLB season) and fans wouldn't show up to many games since they would want to save their money for the really interesting games.

  7. #47

    Second round in So. Florida?

    Interesting article posted at MLB.com about Dolphin Stadium's bid to be a WBC venue in 2009:

    http://http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080329&content_id=2465296&vkey=n ews_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb.

    Sounds like Miami's still in the running to host the second round--probably the winners of Pool C (likely USA and Venezuela) and Pool D (Puerto Rico and the DR).

    Funny, because by all accounts Dolphin Stadium is one of the worst places in the US to watch baseball. But it'd make sense for travel reasons, I suppose.

  8. #48
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    I am a Marlins fan and have been to Dolphins Stadium many times and please do not play WBC games there. Big mistake. Just wait until 2013 after the Marlins stadium is finished. It is definately not a baseball stadium. Play the the games in Orlando.

  9. #49
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    Noooo

    Putting it in Dolphin Stadium would be a horrible decision. Horrible place to watch ball. Forget Orlando too. To small. Bring it all to the west coast. We have Anaheim and San Diego before finals in LA. Come on, do it

  10. #50
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    Dolphin Stadium...

    Who do I send the ER bill to when I have to be rushed there for straining a few ribs from laughing?

    Tropicana Field would be a better option...no rainouts, that would be for sure.
    Man, do I *HATE* the Yankees!!!!!!

  11. #51
    I like they change of rules and the bracket style format in the 2nd round were teams dont have to play each other 3 times. However there is one thing that I have a problem with that hasnt been announced yet. that is pitch count, i disagreed with the pitch count rules especially in the semi final and final rounds. you can't limit a star pitcher to 90 pitches for 2 rounds that is barely 6 innings. take a look at cuba, there two best pitchers in 2006 were yadel marti and pedro lazo, yet they couldnt pitch the final because they had already pitch in the semi final. And obviously cuba had to take their semi final opponent seriously because it was the DR. It might have been a different game if Marti and Lazo were pitching also in the final game. I think the difference between the semi and final game should be a 3 day wait, giving pitchers a chance to rest. Teams like Venezuela and the US dont have these kind of problems because of depth in pitching. Venezuela, got Santana, Zambrano, Garcia, Hernandez, Rodriguez, Escobar. So if one can't pitch the other can. But even if u used santana in the semi final wouldnt you want him to be able to pitch in the Final, I mean the best pitcher around and u can't put him in the game. You do not take out Jordan in game 7 because he played too much in game 6, if he wants to play he should play. Now I understand that MLB teams want to protect their investments. But if you think about it only 2 pitchers in the WBC 2006 pitched over 14 innings. Now obviously you cant always use the same pitching tandem in the beginning but i think in the end you should be able to use all pitchers as you want in the final round. That is if you make it

  12. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Rally Monkey View Post
    Interesting article posted at MLB.com about Dolphin Stadium's bid to be a WBC venue in 2009:

    http://http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080329&content_id=2465296&vkey=n ews_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb.

    Sounds like Miami's still in the running to host the second round--probably the winners of Pool C (likely USA and Venezuela) and Pool D (Puerto Rico and the DR).

    Funny, because by all accounts Dolphin Stadium is one of the worst places in the US to watch baseball. But it'd make sense for travel reasons, I suppose.

    I will be surprised if Miami hosts any later rounds. If Cuba advances, this will be a headache for MLB.

  13. #53
    According to this press account from the Sun-Sentinal, Miami's bid to host the second round of the 2009 WBC is still alive. And it seems that the WBC organizers are now hoping to finally select the second round venues sometime in June--not spring, as earlier expected:

    [T]he Marlins' president...said the club is still awaiting word from Major League Baseball on South Florida's bid to host the second round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic. A decision that was expected by late April has been delayed until June.
    See here (scroll down):

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/b...,6066541.story

    Oh, and one more thing:

    Quote Originally Posted by Cubano100% View Post
    I will be surprised if Miami hosts any later rounds. If Cuba advances, this will be a headache for MLB.
    Perhaps not. I agree that the WBC organizers would be taking a big risk if they placed the Cuban national team in Miami for Round 2. But remember that Cuba will play in Pool B in the first round, and the winner and runner-up in that pool will meet the top-two finishers in the Pool A, the Asian grouping. I highly doubt that the WBC would pick a second round site for the Pool A winners that's as far east as Miami. The travel from Tokyo would be brutal.

    More likely, I think, is that Pool A and Pool B will meet in a west coast city. (San Diego is the place I keep hearing mentioned.) And that would put Team Cuba very far away from Miami.

    So I don't think political considerations would sink Miami's bid to host the tournament's second round. If anything should, it's the lousy ballpark and mediocre fans they've got there....

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rally Monkey View Post
    According to this press account from the Sun-Sentinal, Miami's bid to host the second round of the 2009 WBC is still alive. And it seems that the WBC organizers are now hoping to finally select the second round venues sometime in June--not spring, as earlier expected:



    See here (scroll down):

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/b...,6066541.story

    Oh, and one more thing:



    Perhaps not. I agree that the WBC organizers would be taking a big risk if they placed the Cuban national team in Miami for Round 2. But remember that Cuba will play in Pool B in the first round, and the winner and runner-up in that pool will meet the top-two finishers in the Pool A, the Asian grouping. I highly doubt that the WBC would pick a second round site for the Pool A winners that's as far east as Miami. The travel from Tokyo would be brutal.

    More likely, I think, is that Pool A and Pool B will meet in a west coast city. (San Diego is the place I keep hearing mentioned.) And that would put Team Cuba very far away from Miami.

    So I don't think political considerations would sink Miami's bid to host the tournament's second round. If anything should, it's the lousy ballpark and mediocre fans they've got there....

    Better they should consider St. Pete. At least there won't be any rain delays/rainouts...
    Man, do I *HATE* the Yankees!!!!!!

  15. #55
    The only way the Marlins will host any 2009 WBC games is if every other ballpark in North America implodes between now and next March. The Marlins' current stadium is hardly a showcase for international baseball, the Marlins don't draw flies, and the union -- which is a major partner in the WBC -- hates the Marlins' ownership because they pocket (steal) millions of dollars of revenue-sharing money every year.

  16. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Agente Libre View Post
    The only way the Marlins will host any 2009 WBC games is if every other ballpark in North America implodes between now and next March. The Marlins' current stadium is hardly a showcase for international baseball, the Marlins don't draw flies, and the union -- which is a major partner in the WBC -- hates the Marlins' ownership because they pocket (steal) millions of dollars of revenue-sharing money every year.
    I associate myself with these remarks.

  17. #57
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    Put the games in Orlando.

  18. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard View Post
    Put the games in Orlando.
    The ballpark at the Disney sports complex in Orlando only seats 7500. It was the venue for the opening round in the '06 Classic. It's a great spot from what I've seen. Just way too small for the second round. Won't happen.

  19. #59
    I wonder if MLB would consider playing games in non-traditional baseball stadiums? What I mean is perhaps they would play a second round pool in New Orleans or at one of the large Southern College Football stadiums?

    As an aside, does anyone know when tickets go on sale for the first round?

  20. #60
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    Maybe the stadium in Orlando can be expanded. I am from Ft. Lauderdale and I do not think south Florida deserves it yet because unless the other team is wearing a New York or Boston or maybe a Cub uniform, the fans will not come. I am worried because Dolphin Stadium may filled to less than 25% capacity.

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