So MLB and the MLBPA jointly announced that baseball would have a World Cup-style tournament in less than a year from now, March 2006. It would be called the World Baseball Classic. It seems basically motivated by $$$, but could be entertaining nonetheless. ESPN's Page 2 lists some possible lineups, which could be debated if we were into that. But what's stunning is the quality of the Venezuelan team -- US and DR are obviously great, but it's really not a 2-team tournament.
I have a bunch of questions:
- how does this affect spring training? There are rules to limit pitch counts and use of the pitchers, which may make for some annoying baseball (imagine someone being taken out of the game after 8 2/3 innings of no-hit ball)...but doesn't really solve the problem of spring training being a time to get into a rhythm.
- who manages each team?
- since the MLBPA is involved, if a player is selected, can he opt out, or is he obligated to play?
- do players get to choose the country they play for? (Manny was born in the DR but is a US citizen.)
- who came up with the stupid name "World Baseball Classic"? Why not "World Cup of Baseball"?
- since the World Anti-Doping ("WAD") Agency is in charge of drug testing, will MLB line up their standards to WAD's?
And, most importantly:
- if it had been played this year (which is almost was), would the Red Sox still be called World Champions?
If not, I hate this new tournament. Otherwise, play ball! Here's hoping there's a game here in LA.