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  • WBC and World cup

    Hi everyone,

    Long time lurker and first time poster. I love everyone's contribution to this forum and I think this is the best forum on international baseball on the net. I have some thoughts and concerns about the WBC and the world cup that hopefully some of our non-American and American friends can comment on. I have been a fan of soccer since about the 1994 world cup due to my age and exposure on U.S TV. I have been a fan of baseball since I was a child. I am no longer a fan of any specific teams in the MLB but like and follow certain players especially ones from Asia and Europe and certain parts of Latin America (Colombia, Panama). International baseball is my main interest in the sport.

    When one looks at the world cup squads I notice a trend. In the last world cup the rosters are completely dominated by the European leagues. Some countries particularly those in Africa (Nigeria) don't have a single player from there respective domestic leagues or even in an African league. The South American squads have most of their top players playing for European sides. However this was not always the case in world cups in the 70's and 80's only the very top players from non European countries were on European club teams. In the 50's and 60's none of the players on the non European national teams were on European club teams. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for a fan at a world cup to see incredible players they had only read about in games that were very important. However it must be said that the non European countries national teams squads are spread among several European countries leagues with the top leagues obviously having the best players.

    The WBC is by far the most exciting and important development in the history in international baseball and much more important than I believe Olympic involvement Which I think is quite overrated. I was lucky enough to attend the 09 finals and it was one of the best baseball watching experiences of my life. The atmosphere was electric and I thought I was witnessing the beginning of something very special in the game of baseball. Some of the thrill of watching the three WBC's so far for me has been seeing players that American fans rarely get to see. This really only applies to Cuba, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Watching Darvish in 09, The Cuban team in 06 and Tanaka in 13 were really great. I was actually very excited in 13 when japan and Korea had an all domestic lineup. The Latin American teams minus Cuba are made up exclusively of Major leaguer's and minor leaguers. European teams mostly the same with US nationals thrown in the mix. However we now see a trend with the top talent leaving the NPB and KBO and cuban defectors for the riches of MLB. In the last WBC several top Japanese and Korean players sat out due to MLB club conflicts. I see this as parallel with the World cup in Soccer where the top players all play in Europe. And I believe that the WBC will be diminished if it is just made up of players drawn up from MLB lineups. So this leads me to a couple of questions:

    Was the world cup diminished in your eyes when almost all the players were drawn from European clubs? Does it matter that they come from a couple of different leagues (England, Spain, Italy) rather than just one?

    Will the WBC be significantly diminished when or if most of the players are drawn from MLB? Could it affect the viability of the event? Why care about the WBC when you can watch the same talent on any Wednesday night during the regular season?

    Is there anything that can be done to avoid this from happening?

    Thanks everyone

  • #2
    Welcome to the site.

    To answer your question, I would say no. The best players will generally gravitate towards the best leagues. It is logical to see that in the premier International tournament, the WBC, that the majority of the players are either playing in the US Major Leagues, the NPB or the KBO. For a tournament like the World Cup, which is a lower tier event, that the players would be drawn from the next step down in domestic baseball (which would be the European comps).

    Is it a bad thing that these comps feature players from the same leagues? Again, I'd say no. Using Australia as an example. How competitive would they be if they only had players that played in the Australian domestic leagues? Not very but they can be somewhat competitive due to the fact the best players are playing in foreign leagues against players better than those seen in the domestic comps.
    Personally, I think the WBC will be strongest when nearly all the players are drawn from MLB, the NPB or KBO. Using soccer as an example, would you rather see Brazil field their best available side or only those that play in the Brazilian leagues? If it was the latter, they would not be the spectacle they are now. Same goes for Argentina (really most teams other than Germany and Italy).
    RIP - HGF [1937-2009]

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by worldbaseball View Post

      Was the world cup diminished in your eyes when almost all the players were drawn from European clubs? Does it matter that they come from a couple of different leagues (England, Spain, Italy) rather than just one?

      Will the WBC be significantly diminished when or if most of the players are drawn from MLB? Could it affect the viability of the event? Why care about the WBC when you can watch the same talent on any Wednesday night during the regular season?

      Is there anything that can be done to avoid this from happening?

      Thanks everyone
      The world cup was a joke. They considered it to be the premier baseball tournament in the world without having the best players.

      It was basically a tournament were they didnt invite the best and say "here is the world championship". IBAF didnt care about the world cup. There was a time in the early 90s MLB wanted to increase international exposure and was willing to work to increase international baseball. But IBAF wanted to go alone or wasn't smart enough to take MLB's help.

      I dont think it is wrong for most players to come from MLB. Other leagues in the world beside maybe japan's cannot afford or have the resources to have the best players in the world. Venezuelan baseball league which is a pro league can barely handle a winter league schedule.

      It makes sense to me that all the best players want to try MLB. I honestly think it helps international baseball grow even more. Because american fans can see Dice K, Darvish etc play in their league and then they want to see them in the WBC.

      I think the WBC is the greatest thing to happen to baseball. It showed that american presumed dominance was not true, that cuba was not as good as the world claimed it to be. Japan and Korea are among the top 4 countries in baseball. And countries like Venezuela, DR and PR can bring world championships to their countries.

      The world cup could have been great for baseball but the IBAF ran it like it was some college small time tournament. I didnt even know their was a world cup of baseball until 2003. Thank god for MLB and the WBC.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by quinnystar27 View Post
        I didnt even know their was a world cup of baseball until 2003. Thank god for MLB and the WBC.
        The same goes for me. It also doesn't bother me if most of the WBC players are from MLB.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi,

          Thanks for all the replies. I think there has been a misunderstanding. If you read what I wrote you will see that I am comparing the WBC to Soccer's World Cup. I was comparing the dominance of European clubs in soccer and MLB. Sorry for the confusion. Almost all the players in the soccer world cup are on European teams similar to many WBC rosters are filled with MLB players The baseball world cup while having some great games in the past was mostly a Cuban dominated "amateur" event and does not in anyway compare with the WBC.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by quinnystar27 View Post
            The world cup was a joke. They considered it to be the premier baseball tournament in the world without having the best players.

            It was basically a tournament were they didnt invite the best and say "here is the world championship". IBAF didnt care about the world cup. There was a time in the early 90s MLB wanted to increase international exposure and was willing to work to increase international baseball. But IBAF wanted to go alone or wasn't smart enough to take MLB's help.

            I dont think it is wrong for most players to come from MLB. Other leagues in the world beside maybe japan's cannot afford or have the resources to have the best players in the world. Venezuelan baseball league which is a pro league can barely handle a winter league schedule.

            It makes sense to me that all the best players want to try MLB. I honestly think it helps international baseball grow even more. Because american fans can see Dice K, Darvish etc play in their league and then they want to see them in the WBC.

            I think the WBC is the greatest thing to happen to baseball. It showed that american presumed dominance was not true, that cuba was not as good as the world claimed it to be. Japan and Korea are among the top 4 countries in baseball. And countries like Venezuela, DR and PR can bring world championships to their countries.

            The world cup could have been great for baseball but the IBAF ran it like it was some college small time tournament. I didnt even know their was a world cup of baseball until 2003. Thank god for MLB and the WBC.
            are MLB Players officially banned to Play in the IBAF WC by the IBAF?

            I think MLB Players don't Play there because the schedules collide. I love the WBC too but it is only possible because the WBC is Held during spring Training.
            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

            Comment


            • #7
              It's an interesting discussion. I think the WBC needs more, not fewer players from other countries to grow the event among the US/Canada audience. Cuba maybe can have appeal as sort of a mysterious entity but the reality is that the average American thinks that the MLB product is far superior and probably isn't overly interested in random NPB guys. The nerds sure, but not the average fan. The WBC's growth is going to be more reliant on a "what if?" type scenario if the USA, Japan, Venezuela, and Dominican Republic all field their first-choice squads.

              Comment


              • #8
                WBC is doint to baseball what the Olympics and the Dream Team did to basketball. Which is pretty good. I do think that these tournaments will help baseball growth in other countries. Supposedly Dominican Republic is the second most important country in baseball after USA, yet USA hasn't won, and we won the last time around. Is interesting to see the developments of countries like Netherlands and Italy and even Australia. We can get to see good player when taken from an even larger pool that the one we have now.
                "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
                George Brett

                Comment


                • #9
                  worldbaseball,

                  Was the March 2009 WBC Title Game between Japan and South Korea the only WBC game you have attended in person ?

                  If not, which other WBC games have you attended in person ?

                  Please reply off-line to me via e-mail at [email protected]

                  Comment

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