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Japan threatens boycott of World Baseball Classic

Jul 22, 2011, 1:40 PM EDT

Sadaharu Oh, Ichiro Suzuki Getty Images

Unsatisfied with its current share of World Baseball Classic revenues, two-time champion Japan is threatening to sit out the 2013 event, Reuters reports.

“We are not saying we don’t want to take part,” stated union president Takahiro Arai. “But we will not be able to compete under the current conditions, which are unfair.”

Japan won both the inaugural 2006 and the 2009 World Baseball Classics, but the players took home only 13 percent of the revenue generated from the last tournament.  MLB and its players received 66 percent of the revenue, so there’d clearly seem to be some room for negotiation here.

Japan’s club owners are also looking for a better deal with MLB.

The 2013 tournament is expected to expand from 16 teams to 28 teams, with new additions like Great Britain, France, Brazil and New Zealand.  There will be a play-in round in Fall 2012 in which 16 teams will compete for four spots.  The four winners will join the 12 automatic qualifiers — the U.S., Japan, the Dominican Republic and others — in a tournament set for March 2013.

  1. Panda Claus - Jul 22, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    How ’bout winner take all? That might make things interesting.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 22, 2011 at 1:54 PM

      MLB teams already have enough issues letting their players participate in the tourney. It has to be a guaranteed money maker for the teams to give up their players.

      It won’t happen, but it could be worked so that the owners’ share gets split in one way and then the players’ share goes into a different pool, to be split based on tourney results. And, yeah, it would make things interesting.

    • President Miraflores - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      Winner-take-all may make things interesting for teams that have a legitimate chance of winning, but for teams like South Africa and the Netherlands, stocked with kids, why take the last couple of pennies out of their pockets after they traveled around the world to lose to professional ballplayers?

      • cktai - Jul 23, 2011 at 3:43 AM

        The Netherlands WBC roster is made up from roughly 50% MLB and MiLB players, like Kenley Jansen, Rick van der Hurk, Jair Jurrjens, Shairon Martis, Sidney Ponson and Greg Halman, and 50% Dutch professional Honkbal Hoofdklasse players, most of them olympians, like Sharlon Schoop, Sidney de Jong, Michael Duursma and the legendary Robbie Cordemans who in his last 4 seasons allowed 28 earned runs in 346.1 IP for an ERA of 0.73 and a record of 31-5.

  2. paperlions - Jul 22, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    No one, including most players, care about the World Baseball Moneygrab….just discontinue the farcical event.

    • oikosjeremy - Jul 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      As has been discussed previously on this blog, it’s not a big deal in the US, but it is a big deal in a lot of other countries. I’m not saying that necessarily makes the event a great thing, or an equally great thing for all concerned, but it’s not true that “no one” cares.

      • FC - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:20 PM

        Heyyyy… I care :)

    • kiwicricket - Jul 22, 2011 at 9:09 PM

      Because in other nations, representing your country is the highest possible honour and level you can achieve, not dangling yourself off trying to make the most amount of money from a ‘club’. In those particular nations where Baseball is only a minor sport, the players there would give a limb just to be able to compete with the worlds best. If the ‘big stars’ in the US or MLB are too concerned about getting injured, or just don’t give a dam, that’s fine with me, but please don’t dismiss the enthusiasm and passion of other countries just to compete against other countries best players. The countries competing where baseball is only a minor sport will all be non/semi-professional. They will compete for free(I know in NZ’s case they will pay for some of the trip themselves personally) and will be over-the-moon just to be able to do so. Just my outside perspective on things.

  3. mox19380 - Jul 22, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    I know it’s not a big deal here. But I definitely enjoy watching it

  4. FC - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    The problem with it, is that suffers from the same issue as the MLB Playoffs, except it’s even MORE of a crapshoot.

  5. gammagammahey - Jul 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    As a Korean, I’d be very happy to see Japan not in the WBC next time. WHY WOULD YOU PITCH TO ICHIRO?!?!?!

  6. rcali - Jul 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Is it sad that most of could care less about this event? Even Jeter doesn’t care about exhibition games anymore.

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