Roping other people's investments onto the altar of the World Baseball Classic, the Astros dream of outer space, plus news and notes from around the major leagues.
If Bud Selig ever retires as commissioner, he'll be leaving quite the interesting legacy. He is the man who cancelled the postseason during the 1994 players' strike, and he's also responsible for interleague play, the Wild Card, the All-Star Game deciding home-field advantage in the World Series, revenue sharing, and drug testing. Selig also pushed for the World Baseball Classic, and now that two WBCs have been completed, it remains difficult to assess whether that is a good or a bad thing.
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A new fan to the WBC has a few points about perfecting its scheduling and structuring.
While watching Panama get shut out on 11 hits over the weekend-that's in two games, folks-I started thinking about the WBC in a different way. The solutions I've proffered have been primarily about timing in an effort to garner greater participation among players, but I'm wondering if maybe I've been running at the problem from the wrong direction.
Nate has noticed something fishy about pitchers who participated in the WBC.
But when everyone from Will Carroll to Peter Gammons had hinted that some of the pitchers involved in the WBC may be less than their usual selves, I paid attention. So I decided to apply a relatively simple study: comparing the ERAs of the pitchers who made WBC rosters against their preseason PECOTA projections. Here, for example, are the major league pitchers from Team Mexico, which had easily the coolest uniforms in the tournament.
The World Baseball Classic is coming up, and Clay has some new Davenport Translation numbers to help handicap the field.
If you have been in a box all winter, the WBC (and, just for the record, sharing acronyms with organizations that govern boxing cannot be considered a good thing) is a 16-team tournament that will be played like a baseball version of the World Cup. Players will compete for their "home" country, with some latitude for determining just what their "home" is--although people familiar with soccer's World Cup, or even the Olympics, are already familiar with how national ties can be established. The Italian and Dutch teams, in particular, stand to benefit from having American-born and raised players of the appropriate ancestry to supplement their teams.
Provisional rosters for all teams were released last month; final rosters won't be needed until the teams are actually ready to play. We have good, reliable statistics for the past few years for the vast majority of the players in this tournament; the need to obtain them for this tournament has kicked me into researching some of the others. I think we are now in a position to make a reliable estimate of the relative strengths of each team.
The World Baseball Classic is half marketing event, half true competition, making a whole that's less than its parts.
Yes, it's in March instead of a far more logical time like mid-summer or post-World Series. Sure, how could I be surprised if one or so marquee pitchers blow out their arms either during the Classic, or later this season. So write one, maybe two, articles criticizing MLB and the international organizations for a couple poor choices made in WBC-planning. And now, get over it!