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So when will all of the European baseball players arrive?

Sep 13, 2011, 5:30 PM EDT

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This is essentially a must-click link, though I offer it with the caveat that it is an ESPN Insider piece, so many of you won’t be able to click it.  My antipathy toward paywalls aside — and notwithstanding the fact that ESPN’s fortunes do not benefit me whatsoever — I believe that Insider subscription is worth it simply for the Keith Law and Buster Olney content.  Law is always great, and Olney — even when I disagree with him — is so thorough and provides so many links to stuff I may not have seen, that he’s worth it too. So if you have the means, you should consider a subscription. Yes, you can throw the magazine away when it comes.

OK, sales pitch aside, Law has a piece up today about the rise of baseball in Europe.  Mostly the challenges, actually, as there are all kinds of barriers making it harder for baseball to gain a foothold in Europe like it has in Asia and Latin America.  But they are barriers that are slowly being worn down and one day we may start to see a steady flow of baseball players coming from Italy the Netherlands and countries where baseball is even less entrenched now. Law explains the challenges that have to be overcome in order to make that happen.

The biggest takeaway from the article for me is how much more labor intensive it seems to develop baseball talent than, say, basketball or soccer talent.  In those sports athleticism can cover for an awful lot of rawness and lack of refinement early on.  In baseball — as Law says — athleticism is necessary but not sufficient.

Anyway, a good read for anyone who wonders about where the stars of tomorrow might get their start.

116 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    I’m not an ESPN Insider, so I can’t read the article. However, I wouldn’t pay for the dreck that either Law or “Busta” Olney writes. So it matters little.

    Yes. Great premise. Once again, the United States can’t produce enough home grown talent to meet MLB rosters. Nonsense. It’s another attempt by the media (ESPN in this case) to say that the U.S. talent needs to be augmented by outside countries.

    This same mentality caused me to be turned off from Hockey years ago with the European players that came from there in the 90’s. If U.S. Baseball continues along the path of Hockey, I may start to follow U.S. High School and College baseball more closely.

    As a U.S. Citizen, I have no frame of reference with foreign players. There are language barriers, as well as other barriers. I have spoke about this before. With a U.S. population of 300 million, we don’t need to pool talent from other countries.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:57 PM

      Thankfully, all US citizens speak the same language and have identical cultures so you won’t have any barriers to your enjoyment.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM

        Spoken like a true liberal.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        ..and you can shut the up please, Cepts. Don’t drag politics into a baseball forum, especially when you make no f***ing sense.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:05 PM


        Are you a U.S. citizen? Do you have a problem with foreign workers/baseball players taking U.S. jobs? I do.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        Absolutely not. I believe that legal immigrants who are able to use their talents to earn a living should be allowed to do so. Are you suggesting all foreign players should be on the Blue Jays?

      • cur68 - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:24 PM

        Waitaminute! Did you just propose that “all foreign players should be on the Blue Jays”? Does that mean Albert “Born In The Dominican” Pujols would be a Blue Jay? And Jose “Born In The Dominican” Reyes, too? Along with Jose “Born In The Dominican” Bausita? To go with Brett “Son of BeaverLand” Lawrie? And that’s just the hitting and infield lineup. I like this thinking. Chooch would of course be our catcher. Polanco and Ibanez on the bench. I like it….

    • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      6 thumbs down after 10 mins. of posting my comment. Where is the patriotism of this country from 2 days ago? You still think that the wearing of FDNY/NYPD hats is more important than the outsourcing of professional sports players in this country. Unbelieveable!

      • sknut - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:03 PM

        Its not outsourcing, what makes it more patriotic is that those from Latin America, Japan and other corners of the earth can come here and showcase their talents and add to our country.

      • skipperxc - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:06 PM

        If they’re *better*, why shouldn’t we let them play? Baseball’s a meritocracy — if you’re good you’ll play, if you’re not you won’t (unless you’re Yuni). You make it sound as if foreigners are weakening the playing standards here, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:06 PM

        How do international players playing in a baseball league (that – ohbytheway – has a team in Canada) have anything to do with a terrorist attack on the WTC?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:09 PM


        We have always had the talent here to field any team that can beat anyone in the world. Not an issue.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

        Straw, meet Man. You are inventing random arguments and avoiding the question. It’s not a matter of putting together a talented league of US players only – yes we all know this is possible. It’s a matter of putting the BEST players in the league, and that is most certainly not possible only using US players.

        Remind all of us – how many WBC Championships does the US have again? How do you reconcile your opinions with that answer?

      • skipperxc - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:12 PM

        If the talent just in the US is so good, why are so many foreign players starters, or on rosters at all? You can’t honestly be claiming a league-wide anti-American conspiracy exists, can you?

    • sknut - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:01 PM

      I am not from Russia and yet I can tell that Alex Ovechkin is having fun and a heck of a player. Sports transcends language barriers and provides opportuntites to those that might not have had them in other arenas of life.

      I find it enriches our sports/culture when others come to America and bring their life experiences and personality with them and I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.

      It’s not about replacing American talent its about adding talent on a stage they otherwise wouldn’t have had and I enjoy it for one.

      I know the Twins have one European Max Kepler in low A or rookie league and at the time gave him the highest signing bonus for a European.

    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:01 PM

      This is quite possibly the dumbest comment you have made on this site. The point has nothing to do with a lack of US talent, and much more to do with the potential untapped talent in other parts of the world. Why are you afraid of foreign players? You do realize that there are non-U.S. players that are playing right now, right?

      Those were rhetorical questions, but I’ll actually ask that you respond to this:

      – Would baseball be a better game if all of the foreign players that are currently playing the the majors be sent back to their home countries and kicked out of the league?

      — If so, why?

      — If not, then what esactly are you complaining about again?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:04 PM

        Plenty of U.S. talent here. No reason to bring in outsourced talent when the talent is already here.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:08 PM

        Answer the questions please. Are you in favor of getting rid of Joey Votto and Albert Pujols, in addition to countless other, and sending them packing out of the MLB? Yes or no?

      • ditto65 - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:34 PM

        He won’t answer questions that disagree with his narrow-mindedness. He might insult you or dismiss you, but he won’t answer you.

    • reospeedwagon916 - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:06 PM

      This is pretty much the same logic I imagine a lot of people had about black players in the 50s.

    • cktai - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      It is such a shame that us Europeans do not speak English.

      • CJ - Sep 14, 2011 at 8:57 AM

        Ugh…Google translator must be broke again. I copied your post and hit “translate to English” and it came out exactly the same.

    • phillyphreak - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:24 PM

      Cepts….I don’t know what to think about you. Sometimes you are a passionate baseball fan (although aside from our interest in the Phillies I just don’t agree with your baseball opinions but that’s the fun of sports debate). But sometimes you’re just out there ….. I think you may want to reread your post here:

      “There are language barriers, as well as other barriers. I have spoke about this before.”

      – It should be “I have spoken about this before” or “I spoke about this”, not “I have spoke about this.” It doesn’t help to cite language barriers when many U.S. citizens don’t speak or write correctly.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Sep 14, 2011 at 7:51 AM

        In general, comments on sports boards are wittier (mine excluded, of course.) Part of this is that people usually have enough sense not to trot out their political and/or racial, ideological biases. That’s why I look at them.

  2. crankyfrankie - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    Honest bicept I like you even when I disagree with you but have to disagree on this one. Baseball is a more expensive sport now than it was when I was a kid. The additional expense of getting equipment in a country where baseball is not popular aka Europe just makes it worse. Since native Frenchman Steve Jeltz was a Phillies player we in Philadelphia have always, eventually, welcomed players from all over. Finding enough players and a place to play in Europe is difficult so anything that grows the sport and gives everyone throughout the world a chance to enjoy my, and your, favorite sport is a good thing.

    • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:07 PM

      Other countries can grow the sport themselves and play it internally. Why do we need them in MLB? We have the talent here.

      • skipperxc - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        Tuffy Rhodes, Alex Ramirez, and Matt Murton should fill your appetite for American superiority overseas, I would think.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Sep 14, 2011 at 7:52 AM

        halladay – I can only guess you’re a masochist and either can’t pay or are too cheap to pay someone to insult you.

    • schlom - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:04 PM

      Was Steve Jeltz a native Frenchman or just born overseas (to military parents for example)? I never thought of him as French – although that could explain his lack of offense.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2011 at 9:40 AM

        Hahahah! That’s outstanding Schlom. “His lack of offense.” LOL!

  3. crankyfrankie - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Yes I know Europe is not a country. I just could not find the edit key. :)

  4. halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I give up. Last comment I am making on this particular post, after seeing 14 thumb down comments to my original post. You all disagree with my statement that the U.S. obviously has enough talent to field a MLB roster. Fine. I can’t debate all of you at the same time. All I can tell you that if this comes to fruition and this European influx happens, you can kiss the majority of current U.S. born players goodbye. You will be following a league that is basically foreign born and that you have no connection to from a culture standpoint. Your Global World concept will be closer to what you want.

    Who cares about U.S. ballplayers? The hell with them, right?

    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM

      bye. enjoy the re-run of Matlock.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:22 PM

        Yeah, typical response from someone who is close-minded towards someone who makes a valid point.

        Matlock reference = young punk that doesn’t have a clue to what he’s talking about.

        Just hope you don’t have you’re job outsourced.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:26 PM

        prove that your point is valid. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS POSED ABOVE and prove it.

      • ditto65 - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:41 PM

        Bastardo, Ruiz, Martinez, Polanco, & Valdez.

        Anybody want to guess what roster I found those names on?

        Come on, ‘Biscepts, apologize to the American working man for the actions of your Phils..

      • ditto65 - Sep 14, 2011 at 6:28 AM

        I just noticed that ‘Bicepts referred to someone as “close-minded.”

        Pot, I would like to introduce you to Kettle. You are both Black.

    • itsmekirill - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:24 PM

      You say we can kiss the majority of U.S. born players goodbye. Why is that? Is it because by expanding the pool of available talent, the average MLB player will become better? Why is this a bad thing?

      Most of us want to see the best players on the field. You’re the only one who seems to think that because, say, Mariano Rivera is from Panama, he shouldn’t be in the major leagues. Trevor Hoffman was a great closer, right, why would we want talent from somewhere else?

    • cktai - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      How tight are the cultural connections between Arkansas, California, Colorado and Philadelphia though? Is that really that much stronger then the cultural connection between Philadelphia and England, or Boston and Ireland or New York and Italy? I can see your point of wanting to see players you can connect to and who are close to you in culture and upbringing, but really that would not be the case even if the whole league only accepted players from the United States. As long as clubs are allowed to draft players from every state, you will have diversity of culture inside a club. Adding players from different countries really does not make that much of a difference.

    • bsputnik - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:29 AM

      With the advent of free agency, you can’t have a connection to players anyway. There’s a connection only to the team/city.

  5. cktai - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    The biggest takeaway from the article for me is how much more labor intensive it seems to develop baseball talent than, say, basketball or soccer talent. In those sports athleticism can cover for an awful lot of rawness and lack of refinement early on. In baseball — as Law says — athleticism is necessary but not sufficient

    I would say that the same is true for basketball or football, however in Europe these sports are played much much more than baseball, so there is a basic level of refinement in most players. To illustrate the discrepancy in interest between football and baseball you can just look at how many people play the game. In the Netherlands, which is arguably the best baseball country in Europe, the number of registered baseball players was at roughly 25000. Meanwhile the number of registered football players grew with 40000, bringing the total at little over 1,4 million. It should hardly be surprising that the Netherlands can produce hundreds of professional football players and only a handfull of professional baseball players.

  6. uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    General “Perfect World” note: If you take the time to make inflammatory, archaic, and quite possibly idiotic comments, please take the time to actually engage in the debate you were looking for and answer honest questions rather than repeating the same thing over and over again and then running away.

    The other option is to stop trolling in the first place and wasting all of our time.

    • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      Listen here, punk. I responded to many of the commenters on this post. I can’t debate 12 of you at once. I’m not a fucking troll. I game my opinion and you all disagree with it. What do you want from me? Agreement? I don’t have it to give. Buy a dog.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:42 PM

        Here’s a tip: take the time it took you to write the above comment, and instead use that time to respond to people’s questions. AKA – having a debate.

        How many times can I say this? I don’t want agreement, I want debate. If you do as well, stop putting words in my mouth and answer the questions I posed above (and have asked you to answer 4 times already).

      • ditto65 - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:46 PM

        Craig, I was at a high school football game and they have a “mercy” rule. Perhaps you could issue ‘Bicepts a mercy ban…

  7. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    Biceps doesn’t read an article but feels confident in commenting on it. News at 11


    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:28 PM

      You’ll be here all week? I’ll have the veal, then.

      • sknut - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:01 PM

        I was going to tip my waiter but they looked like they wern’t from the US.


  8. crankyfrankie - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Growing the sport of baseball anywhere and everywhere is a good thing for all of us here. We a love baseball, I think,and love seeing it played at its highest level. Finding players anywhere who can play at a major league level is a good thing. If it means supporting league throughout Europe or supporting the RBI program, reviving baseball in the innercity, either way fans win with better players.

    • bsputnik - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:43 AM

      This is the main point. MLB and for that matter, the NHL and NBA are the top level, world-wide, of their sport. If there is a better player in Europe than the bottom guy on the Pirates roster, then the Euro gets in and the American goes to Indy. That’s what it is to be the top league. The best American soccer player goes to Europe to play because that is where the top league are. Doug Flutie was better than some Americans, so he came to play in the NFL. You can’t afford to be a xenophobe at the top level. The Brooklyn Dodgers figured out something like that in 1947 and the game is better for it. Better players makes for a better game.

  9. jamie54 - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    uberfatty, relax, don’t go ballistic. Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech or no sites like this where you, and everyone else, can post. So you and most don’t agree with him, so what? Man, talk about trying to make a mountain out of a molehill, chill out. No one ‘has’ to respond to you just because you want to get into a debate. Get over yourself.

    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:56 PM

      The irony of your post… okay fine I’ll bite.

      – When did I say anything about freedom of speech? Disagreement does not equal lack of free speech.

      – Cepts clearly wanted to start a conversation about this, hence the initial inflammatory comment. Then he runs and hides when asked to respond to pretty basic questions. Questions that would help all viewers understand where he was coming from. And I’m the bad guy for taking him up on the offer?

      – “I don’t want agreement, I want debate. If you do as well, stop putting words in my mouth and answer the questions I posed above” If you know a better way of requesting that a commenter addresses your original questions that have been ignored, please inform me so I can comment to your standards in the future.

      • baccards - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM

        I thinks ‘cepts was actually surprised at the lack of agreement to his original flag waving statement. For so many years one either waved his flag or was accused of “traitorious” behaviour. As the pendulum slowly swings back, those that have become blind to the world situation will see that the flag shield is becoming transparent.
        His “arguments” for US only players was just short of ridiculous.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:22 PM


        It’s is a flag waving statement. You are correct. I don’t need any more foreign born players in the game of baseball in America. I want to see more American boys playing the game. What’s wrong with that?

      • baccards - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:50 PM

        Absolutely nothing wrong with wishing more American boys playing the game. All we need is to insist on providing them an environment where they can become the best baseball players in the world and that will become a reality.
        Make baseball the epitome of sports again and then more American boys will become better players than non-American players..
        I prefer the best games possible played by the best players.. Let’s work to make that happen

      • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 14, 2011 at 7:49 AM

        “I want to see more American boys playing the game. What’s wrong with that?”

        Ready for the real irony of this situation? What’s wrong with that is that these American boys will cost much too much money to the owners of the all-American game. This is the primary reason why MLB integrated. Not necessarily because of justice, but because the Black players would play just as good if not better ball at a cheaper rate than the Whites. This is exactly the reason why there are so many outreach programs and baseball academies throughout Latin America.

        So in the end you’re waving the flag for people (the owners) who really don’t give a dang. And not to get political, but this is a lot like the poor folks in Kansas who keep voting for that snake in the grass McConnell. McConnell works primarily for the Koch Bros who are working tirelessly with Grover Norquist to cut all taxes that are there to help the poor people of Kansas. It’s a sad, sick game of 2-dimensional image overtaking real life.

        The game of baseball, like soccer, will be an international event. As soon as the American way of life finalizes its dissipation into nothingness. Because what’s going to kill this country are the folks who only think and care about themselves.

        There’s some real Liberal politics for you, Cepts. Hope you read it.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Sep 14, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      I’ve always loved the freedom of speech argument on the internet. Nobody is throwing anybody in jail because of their opinion. If you feel as if you’re being victimized because of your opinion, it’s okay to turn the computer off and come back some other time. Nobody will think any differently about you or your passion when you come back later.

      I’ve had my problems with Bicepts, but you know what? He ain’t Purdueman, and for that I am thankful.

  10. schlom - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    They took our jobs!

  11. drewmunny - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Antoino Bastardo – Dominican Republic
    Carlos Ruiz – Panama
    Michael Martinez – Dominican Republic
    Pete Orr – Canada
    Placido Polanco – Dominican Republic

    I could keep going, but I’m sure all can see where this is headed. These foreign-born ball players are all a part of the Greatest Baseball Team in The Universe. So, halladaysbiceps, should these players and others make way for some American talent? Or would that potentially change the outlook of the destined World Series victory?

    Blast me if you like, just my .02

    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:03 PM

      well, if you want to be technical… Phillies probably are favorites to win it even without those players. Fair point though.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:19 PM

        Here. Since you are so passionate about it, debate me.

        1). Baseball academies, that MLB invests money overseas in other countries, are money oriented and cost saving. It’s not that overseas talent is better. Why don’t they use that money to develop talent here?

        2). The U.S. is the most diverse DNA/genetic pool in the world, mixed with everyone. Why wouldn’t you prefer to see one of our own citizens in the major leagues as opposed to a foreign player?

        3). Why do you like the globalization of U.S. sports? What purpose does it serve you personally? Why do you feel this is necessary? And why do you take this subject personally? Are you a foreigner?

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:31 PM

        Thank you for the reasonable post. I’ll respond, and ask that you do the same above.

        1. I believe there is nothing inherent in being a US citizen that gives anyone more natural “talent”. Overseas academies will help identify the talented foreign-born players and help bring them to play against the best in the world. Also, your point about using money to develop talent here is well taken, except allow me a few counterpoints:
        a. Plenty of money is already spent here, to the effect that a parent who knows their kid may have what it takes will be able to find resources to get that kid seen by someone in the game.
        b. Finding, developing, and finally (down the road) showcasing foreign-born talent, especially in such a large place such as Europe where virtually no current stars are from, is an investment in baseball’s future. Think of the World Series being viewed by all of France and Germany because there were some bench players from those countries on the teams. $$$ in the bank for MLB.

        2. I want to see the best baseball, played by the best players available. Where they were born is irrelevant to me. I would ask the same of you: Why is the nationality of a player so important to you?

        3. The globalization of baseball helps put the most talented players on the field, which in turn helps me enjoy the game. Without it, you wouldn’t have Pedro’s change-up or Pujols’ moonshot off of Lidge, for just two prime examples. Most talented players = better baseball = more entertainment. I’ll ask you this: would you really prefer it the other way around?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:49 PM

        No problem, uberfatty. I can be reasonable. Here is my reponse:

        1). The future of baseball in America should stay with it’s citizens. More $ = more greed by MLB. By further expanding the sport for the sake of money, you get the bidding wars that we have seen in recent years that are unchecked by a draft system that is non-existent for players such as Dice-K, Chapman, etc. We don’t need an escalation in salaries. The market will bare, in my case, the U.S. market.

        2). The reason that seeing American baseball players is important to me is because I feel we have lost something in the 15-20 years as a nation as far as identity for the sport. Look at the NFL. The popularity has risen to unbelievable levels over the last 20 years. They rosters are basically filled with 99.9 percent of American players. I think this plays a part in it. Americans identify with Americans. Pretty simple.

        3). You stated ” The globalization of baseball helps put the most talented players on the field, which in turn helps me enjoy the game.” That’s because there is underdeveloped talent here. And believe me, there is. Keep in mind that MLB is spending great amounts of money overseas with these academies and signing ballplayers at the age of 16 for dirt and taking many years to develop it. Why? Because it is all about money. It’s cheaper to do so.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        Why don’t they use that money to develop talent here?

        Also wouldn’t you consider the US a [super]saturated market by now? With all the scouting, internet, youtube videos, 19369263 different newspapers, kids at 14 are being promoted via travel/AAU/legion/etc teams. Unless you get a player who has an absurd jump in ability (like Strasburg from freshman to sophomore year, or Randy Johnson who suddenly developed control), MLB knows where all the good players are

        Many of the Latin American countries already have dozens of academies in them. This is almost a saturated market as well. You’re seeing teams like the Rays start academies in places like Brazil that haven’t produced a ton of talent. Also, there’s a huge risk in these countries. Age fraud is a serious problem, as is fraud from the buscones(sp) who act as agents for these players, many who are under 16 when teams contact them.

        However, Europe/Australia is an untapped market. They still produce top athletes, but if no one is there to see them, you can have a huge head start on other teams.

        The invested money is peanuts for many of these teams, a couple million tops. Would it be better to use that money to sign an aging reliever?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:02 PM


        I’m really trying to understand your point. I really am. You state that the well of talent is drying up in these other academies that MLB funds. My question is pretty basic. Why not take all the money that MLB invests in Latin American and reinvest it in towns throughout the U.S. on the non-college level? Don’t you feel that MLB can accomplish the same result here?

      • visnovsky - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:03 PM

        Wouldn’t the potential increase in MLB talent and revenue by expansion lead to the possibility of more MLB teams and professional leagues in Europe. Thereby increasing the number of baseball jobs and increasing the ability of American baseball players to find employment.

      • visnovsky - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:08 PM

        Ceps in regard to money invested in the US, No. And, hypothetically if every MLB team but one refused to sign foreign players, the one team that did would have a huge competitive advantage.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:09 PM

        1. Without profit incentive, we have no baseball as we know it today. $$$ does not equal greed, it equals a business. Do you see the contradiction in the following statements you made one after the other?

        “We don’t need an escalation in salaries.”

        “The market will bare”

        Chapman signing with the Reds was the definition of a free market. Salaries excalate becaus eteams are willing to pay players for their services. He was a free agent able to go to the highest bidder. Your point here doesn’t have much to do with greed, and really boils down to constraining the market to only US players just for the sake of doing so.

        2. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I believe the NFL is popular for tons of reasons, not the least of which is basically “huge players beating the crap out of each other” which appeals to a wide audience. The nationality of the players is about 100,000th on my list.

        3. I’m not sure how your points in #3 relate to each other. I guess I’ll take you at your word that there is this huge pocket of underdeveloped talent in the US, but aren’t there also tons of resources available to those individuals? Of course it’s all about the money. MLB is investing in overseas academies because it expands the fanbase and opens up huge untapped markets. I don’t think this is a bad thing at all.

        4. Would you really enjoy the game more without Albert Pujols and Joey Votto and all the other foreign-born players?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:10 PM


        Here’s the problem with that. MLB already has 30 teams. If there were an expansion into Europe of the league, I think my head would burst. There just too many teams to follow as is. If MLB wants to start separate leagues overseas from the American market, I guess that is an option. However, I’m not sure that European cities and economies would be able to support it.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:15 PM


        I saw your response and would like to reply but the Phillies game at Houston just got underway, so I’m going to watch it. I hope you don’t blame me from walking away from the debate. We will pick up on this some other day. I just wanted to let you know the last 45 mins. were reasonable on my side and hope that we can talk in the future. Take care.

      • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:27 PM


        But seriously, thanks for sticking around. You made it much easier to get no work done this evening.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 13, 2011 at 9:25 PM

        You state that the well of talent is drying up in these other academies that MLB funds.

        Not that the talent is drying up, that everyone who is a prospect is already known. Therefore, teams have to vie with 29 other teams for these same prospects. It creates a bidding way (outside the Rule 4 draft) and makes it more expensive for teams.

        Think of players like commodities that are valued based on where you sign them. We have Latin American players receiving bonuses maybe 50% below the best players in the Rule 4 draft. You used to be able to sign the top players for <$1M, now they cost $4-5M. US players subject to the Rule 4 draft are getting more and more expensive every year.

        If you can find a place that's untapped, say Europe or Australia, you can sign the best players there for a fraction of the cost everywhere else. Let's not forget that the guys who run these team's are business man. If they can make the team better and make money out of it…

      • bsputnik - Sep 14, 2011 at 1:08 AM

        Football is more popular because A) There are only 16 regular season games/team and four postseason at most. That’s 3 1/2 weeks of the baseball season. B) There is only about 15 minutes in a game that actually requires you to pay attention while an MLB game of 3 1/2 hours is hard to sit through.

        If there were a Croatian QB, a German TE and a Mexican WR that could get your team to the Lombardi, no one would care where they were from.

  12. andrebeingandre16 - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    wow i didnt think someone could be so wrong on something. its not about outsourcing or taking american jobs. the globalization of baseball is all about seeing the game being played by the best baseball players in the world. i could care less of where they are from as long as they are the best. baseball is better with all the latin and asian talent coming to the mlb. if the next big wave of international players comes from europe than i am excited to see them play.

    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:49 PM

      ^^^ this

    • cur68 - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      andre, aside for using some capital letters I couldn’t improve what you wrote. as a tip of my keyboard i’ll add this in your style; it’s the world series, not the american series. what’s lovely is, when you look at the international flavor of the rosters involved, you can see where the argument for ‘world’ has some traction.

  13. halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:10 PM

    With all of these thumbs downs for my pro-U.S. comments I am getting, am I commenting in a U.S. or a foreign country website? Jesus H! What is the hell wrong with you people? Is there that many of you that don’t care about anything that has to do with the U.S. What the hell are they teaching you in school these days? If this really is the sentiment, we are more screwed as a nation than I thought.

    • Kevin S. - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:34 PM

      Because you’re drawing an entirely arbitrary distinction. Wanting to see the best players in the world has nothing to do with hating the US. You don’t have to be xenophobic to be patriotic. Yeah, I’d rather Albert Pujols have a spot on a major-league roster than Nick Punto. Last time I checked, meritocracy was a pretty fucking American ideal. You know what wasn’t? Being granted extra undeserved opportunities simply because of the situation one was born into.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:43 PM

        No. No. No. Exceptionalism has always been an American ideal. We are better than any nation. The best players in the world are right here. They just haven’t been given enough money by MLB to develop. Get it straight. And this term you use, meritocracy, as well as several other people in this post is one that I never heard of until today in my 40+ years on the planet. Is this the shit they are teaching? Combine the (2) fragments “merit” and “ocracy” and that has meaning? American exceptionalism has more meaning than you will ever know. This post, and I have read every single entry, just shows how much in the shitter that we are where people don’t even care where the players come from. It’s pretty fing sad. Give me the American kid any day. I’ll watch him play ball over any foreigner. Why? Because I’m American, that’s why.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:00 AM

        Holy fucking shit, are you really ignorant enough to think that America has EVER rejected importing products from another country if they are an improvement over what we have here? Do you even understand what exceptionalism is? Do you also not realize that there is already a ton of money invested in American baseball, far more than there is anywhere else? Little League, AAU, American Legion, the NCAA – baseball doesn’t pour money into academies because the infrastructure to develop young talent already exists. Spending more money in America isn’t going to turn Kyle Kendrick into Pedro Martinez – all it might do is deny us the chance to witness the greatness that was Pedro at his peak. I’m sorry I’m not a xenophobe, and I really don’t give a shit if it offends you.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:07 AM


        We have imported good for over 400 years. What the hell are you talking about? It’s not that. Is that the best response you have, besides calling me a xenophobe because I want Americans playing baseball and not a bunch of non-Americans (they are called foreigners, right?) playing the game. All my other arguments that I have stated in 20 ways you don’t agree with? Turning Kyle Kendrick into Pedro Martinez? Where did I say that?

        I’m glad you and the waste of your generation will watch a further influx of non-Americans playing OUR game. I hope you enjoy it.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:41 AM

        So you admit that when America can’t produce superior goods to foreign nations, it imports because it likes having the best, right? Baseball players are, in a very basic sense, commodities, goods to be consumed by the viewing public. If importing foreign ballplayers improves the product, Americans will (generally) want that to happen.

        You either meant that pouring all of the foreign-spent money into America would allow there to be enough American-born players to fill out major- and minor-league rosters without caring whether or not they’re as good as the current foreign-born players, or you meant that pouring all of the foreign-spent money into America would allow America to develop enough American-born talent so that we would see no difference in the quality of play from what we see right now. If your point was the former, I don’t get why you insistently repeat it, since nobody is arguing that isn’t the case. If your point is the latter, then everything I said applies. On Opening Day this year, 234 of the 846 players on rosters or disabled lists were born in a foreign country. This includes the likes of Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Joey Votto, Mariano Rivera, and Ichiro Suzuki. If you kicked every one of them out, and replaced them with the 613th through the 846th best American players, do you honestly believe the quality of play would be the same?

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:44 AM

        Continuing on that last sentence, that’s where the “turning Kyle Kendrick into Pedro Martinez” came from. I guess I didn’t believe you stupid enough to actually misunderstand what everybody else was saying so badly.

        And yes, I’ll enjoy watching them immensely. Because I like watching the best.

    • ta192 - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:42 PM

      Don’t think it’s anti-American seniment, ceps, but rather recognition that Baseball, like all big business these days, will always chase the $$$$$$$, wherever that may lead. If that disadvantages the populace of some countries to the benefit of others, so be it, and the birth nationality of the CEO/COO/CFO making the decision doesn’t enter the equation…

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:48 PM

        No. It’s because the kids that are going through school in the last 10-15 years are being fed crap that American exceptionalism doesn’t exist and that all countries are equal. They are not. We have the talent here with a population of 300+ million that can fill the talent pool quite well. But, as you can see from this board, my fellow Americans (if they really are) don’t think we can. That’s sad and pathetic. I’m really fucking ashamed of these people. I really am.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:15 AM

        Have you been in schools at any point in the past 10-15 years? I have, in a fairly liberal state. And that’s the biggest load of crap I’ve heard in a while. Stop regurgitating the shit you hear on Fox News – Social Studies, a required course through junior year of high school, is basically Patriotism 101. In that entire time, typically one year is devoted to World Civilizations, and the other ten are all US History, state and local history, government, etc. They gloss over, ignore, or spin as a positive anything the US did that might have been less than noble. As usually, you have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:21 AM


        I’m over 40, have a college education and have worked in the computer science sector all of my life. I do no what I’m talking about. So what that the U.S. did stuff in our history and continue to do so that is less than noble? Guess what, chief? So does every country on the planet. Guess what else, chief? I don’t give a shit about every other country on the planet. And they could care less about us either.

        Yopu come from a liberal state? Yeah, that’s not suprising. Be an American and stop bad mouthing your country because you read somewhere that we did evil to another country. Boo-hoo.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:55 AM

        You stupid-ass ignorant fucktard, I have not once bad-mouthed America, nor have I ever said that no other countries have done anything less than noble. Do not put words in my mouth like that again. I like how you decided to attack me for pointing out how wrong you were about what school systems teach today. I’d give you a list of what they gloss over, but I’m sure you’d just accuse me of being anti-American again simply because I know my history, and conflate acknowledging that America has done bad things from time to time with hating America. I’ll pass.

    • uberfatty - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:45 PM

      Yeah, I don’t think you are understanding the source of the negative reaction. It has nothing to do with being Anti-American. To illustrate, a scenario that a commenter posted above:

      Jackie Robinson is breaking the color barrier and I say to my friend, “Boy, I wish all of these African-American players would just form their own league. We have enough talent in our All-White league already and I just want some of our own boys to get those jobs. Why should they be able to come in and steal our jobs?”

      HB – I would view that above statement as “Pro-White”, but disagreeing with that statement doesn’t make me “Anti-White”. In the same vein, your opinion may technically be “Pro-American”, but disagreeing with it is not an attack on America. It is a celebration of the greatest game in the world played at the highest level.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 13, 2011 at 11:53 PM

        Jackie Robinson was an American. It’s not the same comparison. We are talking about other countries now. I want to see American players play the game that Americans go to pay and see, not some foreigner from another country that can play baseball when we have plenty that can play here if developed correctly by MLB, which apparently has enough money to set up baseball academies throughout the world to accomodate.

        I don’t need MLB to be international. If they want to spread baseball, I have no problem with that. Keep those leagues in those countries, for their own citizens to see. America has their own league.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:06 AM

        You keep talking about MLB having enough money that they could be investing here instead – do you even understand the concept of diminishing marginal returns? There is already an incredible amount of money spent on finding and developing talent here in America – dumping more money into that won’t provide the same talent influx as going elsewhere will. You also seem to be, whether intentionally or not, operating under the false assumption that people think there just aren’t “enough” baseball players in America. Nobody believes that there aren’t 3,000 or so American adults capable of playing baseball at a high level. What everybody is saying is that expanding the talent pool raises the quality of the game and thus makes it more enjoyable to watch.

      • uberfatty - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:09 AM

        “America has their own league”

        But ‘Cepts, surely you see the parallels between your current line of thinking and the people that thought only whites should be allowed to play in the MLB. Here is your reasoning applied to integration and imagine someone saying it to you:

        “I want to see White players play the game that Whites go to pay and see, not some African American of another race that can play baseball when we have plenty Whites that can play here if developed correctly by MLB, which apparently has enough money to set up baseball academies throughout the world to accomodate.

        I don’t need MLB to be integrated. If they want to spread baseball, I have no problem with that. Keep those leagues for those races, for their own race to see. Whites have their own league.”

        What would your response to that person be? Keep in mind this has nothing to do with America vs. foreign-born players. Just purely on the above statement, how would you respond to that person?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:10 AM


        There is already a lot of shitty foreign players here right now. Weed them out. Believe me, we have the talent here to substain MLB. We did it for 100 years before the mass migration of foreigners and can do it again.

        Do you think there was a better era of baseball than the 50’s or 60’s, by mostly American players?

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:14 AM


        You keep bringing race into the issue. It’s not about race, man. America has every race on the face of the planet that are citizens. It’s about foreign influx of players. MLB is America’s game. I don’t want any more of precence of these players. Christ, it will get to the point I can’t even pronounce their names.

        We are (1) country, not 180 countries.

      • uberfatty - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:20 AM

        Cepts you aren’t answering my question. I am well aware by now how you feel about America. I am very specifically just curious how you would respond to that person in my race scenario. I imagine the response would be something similar to how the vast majority of people are responding to you right now. Same idea, different topic (Race vs. USA Pride). Both are discriminatory though. You must see that you are discriminating against non-Americans.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:21 AM

        They do get weeded out – teams don’t hire foreign players out of some kind of anti-American globalization ideal or whatever other deranged conspiracy theory you want to cling to – they hire them because they think they can do the job better than the alternative. When there is a better American player, he gets the job. It’s pretty fucking simple, actually. Or do you actually think that superior American players get held back simply so teams can play shittier foreign players? Even somebody like Yuni Betantcourt has a job because the Brewers don’t have a superior shortstop to play over him and most teams are unwilling to eat large contracts.

        Do you realize there were barely half as many teams in the 50s and 60s as there are now? If there were thirty teams today, but the talent pool was only Americans like it was back then, the quality of the product would be inferior both to what it was then and what it is with foreign players involved now.

      • halladaysbiceps - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:24 AM


        I am discriminating against non-Americans because I am only interested in my own country’s best interests and welfare. Did I answer your question?

      • uberfatty - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:25 AM

        A few more things that I am curious about and would appreciate your thoughts/comments on them:

        – How do you feel about the Toronto Blue Jays? Should they be forced to relocate to an American city?

        – Would you support a rule this offseason that removes all non-US citizens from MLB?

        – Would you support a rule requiring all legal immigrants to become US citizens before being allowed into MLB?

      • uberfatty - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:32 AM

        I mean I suppose it’s fine that you admit you are discriminating against more talented players. But I was more interested in your specific response to the quoted statement re: White vs. Non-White leagues and how you would respond to that person. Read the 12:09AM post again, that is the one I am interested to hear your opinion on. Again, it’s a little off topic as it deals with race and not the USA but I’m just curious.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:48 AM

        So, you don’t care about the welfare of the American consumer and his/her ability to watch the best possible product? Got it.

  14. halladaysbiceps - Sep 14, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Guys. It’s 12:30AM. I have to go to sleep. I need to get up early tomorrow. We could debate this all night and it would go nowhere. Good Night!

    • purnellmeagrejr - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:28 PM

      Sweet Dreams Halladay – when you wake up maybe you’ll realize that Baseball transcends borders, religion, nationality, political affiliation and has been a force for bringing people together since Jackie Robinson played in Brooklyn.

  15. po8crg - Sep 14, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    Well, good morning from Europe!

    The single best thing that MLB could do for European baseball fans would be a change to the schedules so there’s one 1pm EDT and one 4pm EDT start every day.

    Those would translate as 6pm and 9pm starts here in England (WEDT); 7pm and 10pm CEDT which covers most of Western and Central Europe.

    There are stations that carry the games (ESPN America for most of us) and lets us watch every game live – no blackout restrictions this side of the Atlantic – but if the game doesn’t start until midnight then you have to be a madly committed fan to watch at all. OK, I’m 38 – I’m never going to play professional baseball. But the more fans that MLB converts over here, the more kids are going to try playing the game.

    It would mean three extra home weekday day games per season per team. I don’t think that would hurt MLB too much in the pocket.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM

      Good post Po!

  16. capsboy - Sep 14, 2011 at 3:22 AM

    A short list of immigrants who presumably “took a job away” from an American citizen but have added to American culture. In some way we have all benefited from their contributions. This should make us all proud and grateful for being lucky enough to be born in a time and place when this is possible.

    Vladimir Nabokov
    Issac Asimov
    Eli Wiesel
    Dr Deepak Chopra
    Ted Koppel
    Peter Jennings

    William Shatner
    Frank Oz
    Pamela Anderson
    Frank Capra
    Micheal J Fox
    Billy Wilder

    Gloria Estefan
    Neil Young
    Eddie Van Halen
    David Byrne
    Carlos Santana
    Irving Berlin

    Albert Einstein
    Dr David Ho
    Hyman Rickover
    Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

    Jerry Yang
    Andrew Grove
    Andrew Carnegie
    Levi Strauss
    John J Audubon

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 14, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      In some way we have all benefited from their contributions

      Vladimir Nabokov
      Issac Asimov
      Eli Wiesel
      Pamela Anderson

      I love the inclusion of the last one :)

      • capsboy - Sep 14, 2011 at 1:05 PM

        Just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2011 at 10:48 AM

      I hear you Caps…and all of those mentioned have contributed greatly. It does NOT however, translate to the the endless number of call centers (and associated American jobs) that have been outsourced to India, the Phillipines, etc… And my call center reference is just ONE example. Huge, huge difference between your list and the average Joe.

      • capsboy - Sep 14, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        You’re absolutely right. I just wanted to show some positives to living in a country which I believe has received a net positive benefit by welcoming people from all parts of the world.

        When forces outside our control directly affect us, i.e. with the loss of a job, it is understandable that our response is purely emotional. Creating a balance between what is good for me and what is good for society is something we all arrive at differently.

        Personally, I have worked with people from India, Czech Republic and Russia who were here on work visas and I will always be grateful for that experience.

      • Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Call centers and the like are outsourced not because foreign workers can do it better, but because they can do it cheaper. MLB is much more comparable to capsboy’s list in that they’re here because of their superior contributions, not because of their lower cost.

  17. ditto65 - Sep 14, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    Never mind that ‘Bicepts trashes two journalists that Craig describes thusly:

    “Law is always great, and Olney — even when I disagree with him — is so thorough and provides so many links to stuff I may not have seen, that he’s worth it too.”

    If ‘Bicepts doesn’t like them, I may well subscribe.

    • phillyphreak - Sep 14, 2011 at 6:56 AM

      Haha subscribe indeed. Bicepts doesn’t like them probably because 1) Law uses advanced metrics to add to his scouting of players (that’s pretty much the most Un-American thing anyone could do to our great national pastime) and 2) Olney picked the Braves to win the NL East (nothing worse than not saying that the Phillies are the greatest team ever assembled).

  18. stlouis1baseball - Sep 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Look…I can understand where Bicepts is coming from (in general). What he is trying to do (rather badly)…is compare the potential (or eventual) arrival of Europeans ballplayers to a regular Joe having his job outsourced to India, the Phillipines, China, etc.. I get that. That is something we (as a Country) must absolutely stop. I can see how the two things (in general) may be similar. Having said that…growing the greatest game on earth by introducing and/or encouraging it in Europe or elsewhere is great for the game of Baseball.

    • uberfatty - Sep 14, 2011 at 4:05 PM

      False comparison. “traditional” outsourcing is done to cut costs. Most certainly it isn’t done because the services improve. Baseball is looking to improve the service and is actually spending some extra money to do so.

      This comparison couldn’t be much more inaccurate.

  19. percychuggs - Sep 14, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Hey guys, take it easy on Biceps. He’s got a college education and has worked in computer science sector his whole life. Take it from him, “I do no what I’m talking about.”

    I also liked his previous comment about how pretty soon, he won’t be able to pronounce any of the names of these foreign devil players (ok, so “foreign devil players” are my words, not his). Oh, you mean players like Marc Rzepcysnski? Mark Grudzielanek? Kila Ka’aihue? Jarrod Saltalamacchia?

    Yorba Linda, California. Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kailua, Hawaii. West Palm Beach, Florida.

    Sounds like a group of red blooded, flag wavin’ Americans to me!

    I won’t even bother discrediting any of the other countless things he’s posted in these comments.

    • cktai - Sep 15, 2011 at 4:48 AM

      In all fairness to bicepts, I heard many Americans try and prenounce Dutch names such as Rick van der Hurk, Bert Blyleven and Greg Halman and I can safely say that Dutch names are unprenouncable for you guys.

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