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09 WBC venues, pools, and rules changes announced

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
    Good questions. To be clear: I'm sort of guessing here. All I have to work with is the WBC's press release. But I think your second question is the critical one: What will determine the first two games in Round One? My guess (and, again, it's only a guess) is that there will be an informal ranking. In the example you give, Pool C, the ranking probably goes down like this:

    1. USA
    2. Venezuela
    3. Canada
    4. Italy

    (This is easy to do for every pool. The top two teams were quarterfinalists in 2006; the bottom two missed the cut.)

    The schedule would be set up so that the number 3 and number 4 teams play in the second game. This will insure that at least one of them advances to a third game--and maybe farther. And it essentially creates an elimination game for one of the teams. Here's what I mean:

    Game 1a. Team USA v. Italy. (Say USA wins.)
    Game 1b. Venezuela v. Canada. (And Venezuela pulls out the win.)

    So after the first games, here's the results:

    USA 1-0
    VZ 1-0
    CAN 0-1
    IT 0-1

    Next is game 2:

    2a. Canada v. Italy. (And Canada wins.)
    2b. USA v. Venezuela. (VZ wins in an upset.)

    Standings:

    VZ 2-0
    USA 1-1
    CAN 1-1
    IT 0-2. Italy is eliminated.

    Now game 3:

    3a. USA v. Canada. (A must win for either team to avoid elimination. And Canada shocks the world with a win!)

    So then in a Pool Championship Game, VZ plays CAN. And both advance to the second round.

    By the way, every team in the Toronto-based Pool C won at least one game in the 2006 Classic. Which means that Pool C comes the closest in 2009 to a "Pool of Death". The WBC organizers did not go easy on Team USA.

    Okay I totally see that as being the possibility. Give Canada it's good chance of beating Italy in it's second game so you set up a winner takes all against the USA-Canada because baseball fan, hockey fan, or whatever, ALOT of Canadians will tune in for that.

    Now if we go by that.....how would you think the other pools would set up their games? I really think your right and yours makes sense, but I would really like an official answer to this.

    Comment


    • #17
      Sorry for the double post, but I found this really interesting because I didn't know the 2016 Olympics had a good chance of going to baseball countries.


      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/press_releas...=.jsp&c_id=mlb



      Q. The first World Baseball Classic, I've been reporting on it from the very beginning to the very end, and it was the most exciting tournament I've ever experienced, and listening to the upcoming Classic, I'm very much looking forward to it and I hope that I can report it once again. I have a question for you today, not on the WBC unfortunately but a question to Dr. Schiller and the executives of MLB, a question on something that the Japanese baseball field is worried about, and that is in regards to the Olympics. The 2008 Olympics, that is going to be the last time we're going to be seeing baseball as an event, and I'd like to ask you about that issue, Dr. Schiller. Have you asked the Major Leagues to help you get baseball back into the Olympics? Can you tell me a bit about that, Dr. Schiller? And also, Mr. DuPuy, I'd like to ask you a question. The 2016 Olympics are going to be held in Chicago or in Tokyo, and if that happens, will MLB cooperate? And a question to Mr. Varitek. You have participated in the Olympics and in the WBC, as well. How do you view about baseball being erased as an event from the Olympics? Are you satisfied with that? I'd like to ask the three of you for answers.

      HARVEY SCHILLER: As everyone knows, the International Olympic Committee voted in Singapore a few years ago to move baseball off the program following the games in Beijing this year. We are working very hard to return the game to the program in 2016 or even before in London if we can.

      The IOC considers this question in Copenhagen in October of next year. We have been focusing and working with Major League Baseball, the Players Association, professional leagues and all of our member organizations to attempt to have the best players participating in the Olympics.

      As most of you know, being on the Olympic program is extremely important to our member countries in terms of development and funding.

      We feel confident that we can present to the IOC and its program commission the reasons for baseball's inclusion. It's a growing sport, it's a sport for all, and it means a great deal to the millions of people that will play it and have played it around the world.

      We are also, as we mentioned, making strong statements about drug testing and anti doping. We're taking a leadership position in that in the sport of baseball. I know there have been a lot of negative reports in the past, but I think that our goal is to work together to ensure that we have a drug free sport, and we have had the complete cooperation of all in trying to get to that particular point.

      BOB DuPUY: On the last point first, all of our players are subject to WADA testing when they participate in international events and will continue to be so, so the drug testing issue should not be an issue with regard to the participation of baseball in the Olympics.

      We've had numerous discussions with Dr. Schiller and with IOC members about returning baseball to the Olympics. We do cooperate with the International Baseball Federation with regard to fielding teams for the Olympics, and we'll continue to do so and we'll obviously review the situation when the 2016 games are awarded with regard to venue and what can be done to ensure that baseball is returned to the Olympics as quickly as possible.

      We currently send 40 man roster players. We will continue to look at that over time. HARVEY SCHILLER: I would like to add that the bidding cities of Tokyo and Chicago, of course, and others, would present some very, very good venues for the sport of baseball.

      JASON VARITEK: My question I think had to do with whether it would be sad if it was lost as an Olympic sport. I was fortunate to be a part of the first one, and once again, we had our learning experiences from that. And I luckily made that team out of basically somebody else getting hurt.

      So the experience I had was, beyond doubt, a life experience. I'd hate to have that taken away from other people. A lot of people worked hard to allow it to get in, into the Olympics, but I just hope we're able to spark back the interest to make it a worldwide interest to allow us to continue.

      Comment


      • #18
        Okay I totally see that as being the possibility. Give Canada it's good chance of beating Italy in it's second game so you set up a winner takes all against the USA-Canada because baseball fan, hockey fan, or whatever, ALOT of Canadians will tune in for that.
        That will happen only if Team USA loses to Venezuela first.

        Here's a pretty good (but still-a-little-confusing) article about the double-elimination format:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-...ion_tournament

        I think it's pretty easy to predict the scheduling of the other pools based upon how the teams performed in the 2006 Classic. Take, for example, Pool D (DR, PR, PAN, NED). Using the method as explained in the wikipedia article, this is how it can be set up:

        1 DR v.
        1 PAN
        2 PR v.
        2 NED

        The 1 teams play each other, as do the 2 teams. The losers go to the "Loser Bracket"; winners to the "Winner Bracket." Here's how the next round looks:

        W1 DR v.
        W2 PR

        L1 PAN v.
        L2 NED

        The Loser Bracket is essentially a single-elimination bracket. If, say, PAN loses this one, they're gone. The winner of the Loser Bracket game then plays the loser of the Winner Bracket game (or, as it's said, the loser of the Winner Bracket game "drops down" to the Loser Bracket):

        L3 PR v.
        NED

        Again, this is single-elimination. So if NED loses, it's Doei! to the Dutch and PR survives.

        You can go through the same drill with the other pools. Just take the 2006 quarterfinalists and match each up them up with the remaining teams for the first game of pool play. That'll be the best way to insure that the first Loser Bracket game is competitive.
        Last edited by Rally Monkey; 03-24-2008, 01:37 PM.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
          Here's a pretty good (but still-a-little-confusing) article about the double-elimination format:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-...ion_tournament
          Yes, but is that what the WBC people actually had in mind when they started using the term "double elimination"? As far as I know, there's been not a whisper of winners/losers bracketing (in which the matchups for the later games aren't set until preceding results are known).

          Originally posted by ShawnC View Post
          I thought the double-elimination was supposed to be that in the case of a tie in the win record between teams then those teams would play an extra game and whoever lost would be eliminated (I'm sure this was discussed in one of the other WBC threads).
          There has to be more to it than what's been announced. Suppose another pool goes the way of Pool B in '06. (I know the groupings will be different, but for sake of argument look at the '06 results.) In the first two games, USA def. Mexico and Canada def. RSA. (The next scheduled games happened to be the matchups that would result from a winners/losers bracketing, with USA v. Canada and Mexico v. RSA.) Canada def. USA and Mexico def. RSA. So, the standings are Canada 2-0, USA 1-1, Mexico 1-1, RSA 0-2. Suppose RSA is now sent home. In the next scheduled game, Mexico def. Canada. (This one would not have been played with a bracketing system, because Canada would still be on the winners side; indeed, Canada would now be a lock to advance, as they did not in '06!) By percentage standings, Canada and Mexico are now tied with 2-1 records, while USA is in third place with 1-1, and we are now supposing that their upcoming game, as originally scheduled, has been voided. So what happens?

          In a bracketed double-elimination (instead of seeing Canada v. Mexico) USA and Mexico, in the losers bracket, would have played again for the second advancement spot. Canada v. Mexico, if played at all--if Mexico def. USA in the rematch--would be only to determine a "pool champion" and seeding for the next round.

          Maybe that really is what they plan to do, but it seems odd to use the bracketing system when you're starting with four tiny pools rather than one big field, since this makes it possible (if USA def. Mexico a second time) for a four-team pool to yield results of only five total games played, one of which is a repeat, and two matchups within the pool that don't happen at all! Surely this can't be the showcase they're looking for.
          Last edited by Pere; 03-24-2008, 07:26 PM.

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
            ... The standings now are

            CUB 2-0
            MEX 1-1
            AUS 1-1
            RSA 0-2 (eliminated)

            Australia then plays Mexico. If, miraculously, the Aussies win, then Mexico is eliminated and Australia plays Cuba for what's being called a Pool Championship prize--which seeds the teams for the following round. ...
            But at that point, Cuba would be 2-0 and Australia 2-1. Aside from the business need to play games and sell tickets, it seems odd the 2-0 team would need to play another game for seeding purposes against a team that's 2-1. I don't believe that's typically how a double-elimination tournament works, but then again, with the brackets and cross-pool play, this doesn't look like a pure double-elimination tournament.

            Comment


            • #21
              Double Elimination sounds better than tie-breaking formulas that determine which teams advance. Rally Monkey's interpretation of the double elimination format in post #18 makes it clearer to me. Although, I would have liked for the Final to be a best of three series.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Agente Libre View Post
                But at that point, Cuba would be 2-0 and Australia 2-1. Aside from the business need to play games and sell tickets, it seems odd the 2-0 team would need to play another game for seeding purposes against a team that's 2-1.
                In any rational tournament, they wouldn't. Cuba would already be seeded higher than Australia on the basis of having already defeated them. Same thing for the other example that had Venezuela playing Canada a second time.

                The difference in my example (of USA and Mexico playing a rematch) is that game would be necessary to decide advancement or elimination.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by spark240 View Post
                  Yes, but is that what the WBC people actually had in mind when they started using the term "double elimination"? As far as I know, there's been not a whisper of winners/losers bracketing (in which the matchups for the later games aren't set until preceding results are known).
                  Well, here's what Paul Archey, the MLB executive who announced the new advancement system yesterday, had to say about the double-elimination format:

                  It's very common in some parts of the world, this type of format. In others it is not as common as a round robin. But we made this move for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, to make sure that we settle the teams that would advance would be settled on the field, not by a tie breaker that was not only confusing to players and teams but confusing to those who organized the games. We wanted to settle it on the field.

                  The double elimination tournament allows us to do that and not have to rely on a tie breaker of runs scored or head to head competition.

                  Secondly, it provides us the excitement of knockout games, more compelling match ups when you get to the losers' bracket; that is, you are faced with a more win or go home scenario. We think it presents a much greater excitement for the fans in this type of environment, rather than pool play.
                  That's more than a whisper, eh?

                  Originally posted by spark240 View Post
                  Maybe that really is what they plan to do, but it seems odd to use the bracketing system when you're starting with four tiny pools rather than one big field, since this makes it possible (if USA def. Mexico a second time) for a four-team pool to yield results of only five total games played, one of which is a repeat, and two matchups within the pool that don't happen at all! Surely this can't be the showcase they're looking for.
                  I'm pretty sure there's no way a four team pool can yield only five games, so long as a final Pool Champion Game is played. It'll always be six games. And while, to be sure, there's the possibility that two of the teams won't play each other in pool play (but not, as you say, two entire matchups), it would be the best team (that is, the undefeated team) that never plays the worst team (that is, the team that's eliminated after two games). And that's fine: I don't think the world is waiting with bated breath to watch that Cuba-South Africa game.

                  You raise an interesting question regarding teams playing each other twice in the same pool. By my reckoning, Japan could play Korea twice in Pool A, and then twice again in the next round of pool play. I've read that one of the reasons that the WBC switched to crossover play in the semifinals was to avoid a repeat of Japan playing Korea three times. But under the new system (unless I'm missing something), it could be more! Any thoughts?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                    One thing I haven't seen much comment on is the potential matchups for the second round of pool play in the 2009 Classic. If it's anything like last time, the winners of Pool A will meet the top-two from Pool B. And Pool C winners will play Pool D. Assuming the same quarterfinalists advance this time as last time, this is how it'll look:

                    Pool 1: Japan, Cuba, Korea, Mexico
                    Pool 2: USA, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico

                    We'll definitely, then, see a Japan v. Cuba rematch. And USA v. DR could be the highlight of the tournament.

                    Pool 2 seems a lot stronger to me than Pool 1. Another Pool of Death for Team USA!
                    Well I commented on the potential drawback of having the top two teams from a given first round pool advancing to the same second round pool. It might be better to put the top two teams from each first round into different pools. This would avoid the kind of situation which developed wherein Korea played Japan in the first round and beat them...and then Korea played Japan in the second round and beat them only to face Japan a third time and lose in the semi-finals (I guess third time lucky for Japan). Mixing up the teams early on means that the eventual winner would have to face more teams on the way to the becoming Champion. In 2006 Japan played 8 matches but only faced 6 teams (as did Cuba). If a crossover system had been in place for 2006 then Japan would have played 8 matches and a minimum of 7 teams if it reached the semi-finals and would have needed to face 7-8 teams to become Champion. Imagine if the crossovers had been in place in 2006...then then Second Round pools would have looked like this:

                    Pool 1: Korea, the United States, Puerto Rico and Venezuela

                    Pool 2: Japan, Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic

                    Right away the semifinals would have been different since Japan, Cuba and the Dominican Republic couldn't all advance from the quarterfinals. And with the crossovers for the semis, even if Japan and either Cuba or the DR had advanced, Japan may have played Korea in the semis (if Korea got through), but it would only be the second time they met. Heck, just drawing random teams the semis could have looked like Japan v. the United States and the Dominican Republic v. Korea.

                    If the first round teams were mixed up for the second round then your predicted second pool, Rally Monkey could look like this (this is only one of many possible combinations):

                    Pool 1: Japan, Cuba, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic
                    Pool 2: USA, Mexico, Korea, Puerto Rico

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by ShawnC View Post
                      If the first round teams were mixed up for the second round then your predicted second pool, Rally Monkey could look like this (this is only one of many possible combinations):

                      Pool 1: Japan, Cuba, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic
                      Pool 2: USA, Mexico, Korea, Puerto Rico
                      Sounds alright to me. But it's not going to happen. As far as I can tell, there'll be no crossover in the second round in 2009. But that could change if Japan beats Korea four times in pool play and then loses to Korea in the finals next year. It would rub a lot of people--expecially Japanese people--the wrong way.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Wbc

                        I loved the 2006 WBC, and my only real problem with it was that I wished America would have taken it more serious. I think the fact that they got embarassed, and saw how serious the other countries were taking it, will light a fire under them next time.

                        All we kept hearing about was how bad the timing was, and how guys were dropping out because they wanted to stay with their teams for Spring Training and to focus on their team etc. I think USA would have the strongest team, if they would take it serious and play with the same chemistry and passion that the others play with. USA has the most talent, and the least amount of heart. 2009 will be the year to turn it around. I am looking forward to seeing a squad with guys like Jimmy Rollins, Prince Fielder, David Wright, Curtis Granderson etc. playing their hardest in the 2009 WBC.
                        "Candlestick made me a man" -Will Clark

                        "Real Giants fans loved them BEFORE and AFTER Barry Bonds came along"

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                          That's more than a whisper, eh?
                          Yes indeed. This is the first time I've seen the words "losers' bracket" used by anyone in a position to know.

                          Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                          I'm pretty sure there's no way a four team pool can yield only five games, so long as a final Pool Champion Game is played. It'll always be six games. And while, to be sure, there's the possibility that two of the teams won't play each other in pool play (but not, as you say, two entire matchups),
                          In my example, using the 2006 Pool B, there could be results in which there is no USA-RSA game, no Canada-Mexico game, and two USA-Mexico games out of a total of five played. A sixth game for "pool champion" in that example (assuming USA defeats Mexico twice) would be both a second rematch, between Canada and USA, and also unnecessary by a conventional application of the double-elimination system, because Canada would be alone on the winners' side.

                          However, it appears that you are right that a "pool champion" game will be played anyway...

                          Originally posted by MLB press release
                          In both rounds, teams in the final game will compete for a Pool Championship prize, as well as seeding in the following round
                          Have they really thought this through? I'm starting to think it would have made more sense to stick with straight round-robin, plus a formula for adding a single (seventh) tiebreaker game in each pool.

                          Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                          it would be the best team (that is, the undefeated team) that never plays the worst team (that is, the team that's eliminated after two games).
                          No. See above.

                          I have to think some more about your Korea-Japan scenario.
                          Last edited by Pere; 03-25-2008, 08:26 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Rally Monkey View Post
                            As far as I can tell, there'll be no crossover in the second round in 2009. But that could change if Japan beats Korea four times in pool play and then loses to Korea in the finals next year. It would rub a lot of people--expecially Japanese people--the wrong way.
                            Okay, I had to get out the scratch paper, but it seems this is actually correct. A team could lose four times in pool play and still advance, and it's because of the stupid unnecessary "pool champion" games!

                            Using conventional seeding based on 2006 cumulative final standings, Pool A would begin with Japan-China and Korea-Taiwan. Assume Japan and Korea win. They play a winners' bracket game, while the others play a losers' bracket game. Assume Japan wins (I'm going with your projection, RM). Korea drops to the losers' bracket to play the winner of China-Taiwan; assume Korea wins that game. China and Taiwan have now lost two games each and been eliminated. That should be the end of it. The pool has yielded two qualifiers for the next round, and they have already faced each other, so their seeding for the next round should be clear. Yet if the tournament insists they play for a redundant "pool championship," and Japan wins again, Korea advances with two losses.

                            In the next round, Japan would face the Pool B champion, and Korea the runner-up. Could be Cuba and Mexico, doesn't matter. Assume the Asian teams win their games. Japan and Korea now face each other for the third time, in the winners' bracket of second-round Pool 1. Continuing with the hypothetical, Japan wins again. Korea again drops to losers' bracket, and again wins that game. Again, two teams have now been eliminated from the pool of four, and the relative position of Japan and Korea is clear. But only five games have been played; if there must be a sixth, Korea could lose to Japan a fourth time.

                            If the two teams should meet yet again in the championship, some might say that Korea beating Japan at that point would be payback for Japan beating Korea in the semis of 2006. But, yes, it would feel all wrong.

                            Such a scenario is unlikely, but the possibility of convoluted results like this is what good tournament design should avoid. And this absolutely proves my point about the "pool championship" games: they should not be played. They add nothing, and they allow for the possibility of aberrant results of the very nature that led many to feel that there should be structural changes from '06.
                            Last edited by Pere; 03-25-2008, 08:34 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by spark240 View Post
                              Okay, I had to get out the scratch paper, but it seems this is actually correct. A team could lose four times in pool play and still advance, and it's because of the stupid unnecessary "pool champion" games!

                              Using conventional seeding based on 2006 cumulative final standings, Pool A would begin with Japan-China and Korea-Taiwan. Assume Japan and Korea win. They play a winners' bracket game, while the others play a losers' bracket game. Assume Japan wins (I'm going with your projection, RM). Korea drops to the losers' bracket to play the winner of China-Taiwan; assume Korea wins that game. China and Taiwan have now lost two games each and been eliminated. That should be the end of it. The pool has yielded two qualifiers for the next round, and they have already faced each other, so their seeding for the next round should be clear. Yet if the tournament insists they play for a redundant "pool championship," and Japan wins again, Korea advances with two losses.

                              In the next round, Japan would face the Pool B champion, and Korea the runner-up. Could be Cuba and Mexico, doesn't matter. Assume the Asian teams win their games. Japan and Korea now face each other for the third time, in the winners' bracket of second-round Pool 1. Continuing with the hypothetical, Japan wins again. Korea again drops to losers' bracket, and again wins that game. Again, two teams have now been eliminated from the pool of four, and the relative position of Japan and Korea is clear. But only five games have been played; if there must be a sixth, Korea could lose to Japan a fourth time.

                              Obviously such a scenario is unlikely, but the possibility of convoluted results like this is what good tournament design should avoid. And this absolutely proves my point about the "pool championship" games: they should not be played. They add nothing, and they allow for the possibility of nonsensical results.
                              Wow....great work. I thought that say when Japan-Korea move on, Japan the pool winner would go and play the other pool's runner up and not it's winner?

                              Also, I know MLB is trying to create added drama by having these pool championships but in some situations your right, they wouldn't be necessary at all.

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                              • #30
                                Also, if Pool A came out as I described there, there are indeed two matchups that we don't get to see. There would be no Japan-Taiwan game and no Korea-China game. It's not just missing out on the "best" team playing the "worst" team; this would be missing both the 1-3 game and the 2-4 game (assuming Taiwan beats China in their game). So we lose two pool games, gain an unnecessary rematch, and have the theoretical possibility of a truly weird ending...

                                They should have consulted here first!

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