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Global Series being discussed between U.S., Japan

Jan 7, 2010, 7:55 AM EDT

This is pretty interesting:

The champions of U.S. Major League Baseball could face the champions
of Japanese professional baseball in a regular Global World Series
under a plan being discussed by the two countries.

meetings with Japanese commissioner Ryozo Kato in Milwaukee, MLB
commissioner Bud Selig proposed that the Japanese and U.S. champions
play each other, the Nikkansports newspaper reported Thursday.

According to the story, Selig would like to see this happen before his tenure ends, which will be 2012 unless he pulls another Favre.

Cool if they can pull this off, but I have a hard, hard time seeing this actually happening, however, mostly because of pitcher use issues.  Are the Yankees really going to want to see CC Sabathia pitch 200+ regular season innings, then 40 more innings in the playoffs, and then fly to Japan and pitch another 15-20 innings against Yomiuri? And if they’re not going to use the best of the best, what’s the point?

  1. Patrick - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    Hey now, Craig!
    Why are you assuming it’ll be Yankees-Giants?
    It could be Twins-Carp! :)
    All right, I’m messing with you. I love the idea but it’d be hard to persuade the teams. Hopefully it gets shoved at them.
    It’ll be very interesting to see how the difference in level of competition thoughts hold up with better teams…
    Oh! And how will they handle the baseballs? Japanese baseballs are, if I remember right, somewhat smaller! Probably pretty minor for hitters either way, but a big deal for pitchers.

  2. Josh - Jan 7, 2010 at 8:37 AM

    Yeah, it would be a pickle for the pitchers. I’d guess that the Japanese leagues would phase-in the bigger ball (my understanding is that Japanese baseballs are also not made or wound quite the same as those for US-based play), since it would likely be a huge disadvantage to American hitter and pitchers to use the small ball. Japanese pitchers might gain arm strength by throwing the larger ball and hitters would likely have a better chance to make contact. That’s just speculation — I know nothing of physiology or the probabilities of hitting. Regardless, I also cannot see the American teams agreeing to this — what American, outside a very small, hardcore demographic, would want to watch another “World Series” after the World Series? The idea of perpetual tournaments works well for European soccer, but Bud Selig seems not to have noticed that European soccer isn’t a hot property in the States. I think American baseball fans like the rhythm of the season as it is, with a definite end-point and one champion of “everything,” even if “everything” is North America. And also, per the OP, this whole experiment would get buried after the first year if the American World Series winner had a lousy season the next year. Just like NHL hockey, it would be attributed to the “hangover” from the long postseason and unnecessary extra games played for an alleged “global” audience. Should Sabathia’s shoulder start hurting, well, that’s that.
    Now, I could definitely see an “All-Star” faceoff with Japan every year, with either the 25 best prospects playing a team of Japanese All-Stars, or else an American hand-picked team, assembled from the ranks of MLB teams that didn’t make the postseason, that could play something like the NIT, concurrent with the MLB playoffs but scheduled on off days.

  3. Eric Solomon - Jan 7, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    Craig, to answer your question directly, “no.”

  4. DSFC - Jan 7, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    Perhaps this could be a spring exhibition series? I know this whole thing really doesn’t work, but it’s such a cool idea that I wish there were a way to make it possible.

  5. Sean - Jan 7, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    This needs to happen. If rumor assumes only a hardcore demo would be interested, then chances are the exact opposite would happen. I think this idea is more important than the WBC. The WBC tournament should be every 6 years, especially if they are making it larger and adding more teams. As is, this idea would be the TRUE World Series and eventually the Global World Series would be dropped as younger generations accept that it IS the World Series. This would make the Japanese League very powerful and I think they would gobble up the Korean League and also form some other mainland Asian teams, so that it became the Asian League. Then maybe over time we could also make it a three team selection , where the best two teams between Asia, North America, and Latin America play each other at the end of each season in the World Series. For this to happen the Latin American team would be playing this Championship at the beginning of their following season and may have different players on the roster than from the Championship roster. This is due to the fact that those are winter leagues. Also the organization of the Latin Leagues are much less organized. The Latin American participation is probably 10-15 years out. WBC does not need to be every 4 years, if this plan goes through. The WBC if it stays at every 4 years will be more of an exhibition to get smaller markets [Europe] intersted in baseball. Then maybe Europe forms a league and they can have their champion participate in the World Series if their champ has a high enough win%. Maybe eventually it can become a 4 team tournament, ASIA, N.AMERICA,EUROPE,CENTRAL AMERICA. Basically baseball is becoming a concept that is overlapping futbol/soccer in terms of scale and global markets. They have their World Cup equivalent to WBC. And they also have a Champions Cup. Baseball can do the same thing. Make the rosters bigger. The Yanks can have Chad Guadin go out and pitch in the Global World Series instead of having CC pitch on 3 days. Gaudin is a good pitcher, better than only having to watch him warm up and sit down in the bullpen.

  6. Old Gator - Jan 7, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Great idea. Better idea: let’s start the series in some south Pacific archipelago like the Solomons and play the various levels of the playoff games northward towards Japan, island by island. We can have the division series in Tarawa, the league championships on Guam, and the series in Hiroshima. Then the winning team gets to raise the championship pennant on Mount Suribachi. It would have a nice symmetry to it, and give the neocons something to cheer about in these bleak times. They could even observe the rising sea levels en route and contemplate the reality of global warming. As the first eight years of the 21st Century demonstrated, if you don’t take care of your illiterates and ignoramuses, they’ll take care of you.

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