WBC now resembles Little League

First came the pitch counts. Major League pitchers throwing in the WBC would be tethered to strict pitch counts to protect their valuable arms.

Then came the opt-outs. Barry Bonds pulled out of the tournament; Randy Johnson and John Smoltz declined invitations to pitch for Team USA; and Alex Rodriguez nearly single-handedly turned the WBC into a mockery of a tournament (or did the WBC turn A-Rod into a mockery of himself?).

But the latest rule transcends the other two. The World Baseball Classic will feature a mercy rule. Now, this grand tournament is no better off than a Little League game.

According to the latest from the WBC, the mercy rule is similar in spirit to the one in place during Little League games:

Games will be stopped after five innings when a team is ahead by 15 or more runs and after seven innings when a team is ahead by at least 10 runs. A game can be stopped in the middle of an inning if a team reaches the threshold.

As far as I can tell, WBC organizers felt it necessary to issue this rule so as to avoid potentially embarrassing outcomes. A quick glance at the tournament bracket reveals a few match-ups that could turn ugly fast. In fact, nearly every grouping in the first round features a mismatch.

Let’s take the Dominican Republic’s bracket. The DR team, favored to win the tournament, features numerous All Stars including Miguel Tejada, Pedro Martinez, Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero and David Ortiz.

In the first round, the DR team squares off against Italy. While featuring 25 Major Leaguers, the preliminary Italian roster hardly strikes fear into the hearts of its opponents. The biggest star on the team is 37-year-old Mike Piazza who is still unemployed. He is joined by the likes of Matt Mantei, Mike Gallo, and, uh, Dan Miceli. Their team name is actually the Italian Journeyman.

In team USA’s bracket, USA, Mexico, and Canada all play South Africa. The most experienced player on South Africa’s team hasn’t played above AA ball and most of the guys on the team haven’t advanced beyond Rookie level. Is the South African club going to show up? Might they be mercy ruled out of existence?

In my opinion, chalk this one as just another flaw. The organizers of the World Baseball Classic couldn’t find 16 competitive teams. They’ve managed to field around 12 or 14 teams that are on a fairly even field. (I honestly cannot assess the all-Chinese, non-MLB China team and the few-MLB Chinese Taipei and Japan teams.) But at least two teams are filler, and the Netherlands make it only the strength of colonial ties to Caribbean islands.

Baseball has never been about the mercy rule. Teams must find ways to use pitchers to end the game without giving up innings to valuable arms. Managers in blow outs must find ways to keep their players from getting too discouraged.

But in the WBC the mercy rule now eliminates that. What’s from stopping the South African players from throwing in the towel before too long? And how demoralizing will the first national-televised mercy rule loss be the nation on the wrong end of the 15-run loss? When AA and Rookie Level teenagers are facing the best of the Majors, the kids will lose badly.

In the future, hopefully, WBC organizers can find teams that all have a shot at winning a game or two along the way. Getting beat up is no fun. Just ask the Devil Rays.

About these ads

2 Responses to “WBC now resembles Little League”


  1. 1 Ryan B January 28, 2006 at 2:39 am

    To make it fair why doesn’t WBC ask like players from MLB play on teams for fun. I am just throwing a name out but like the Mariners Brett Boone for example playing for South Africa? He’s a decent player but surely isn’t from there. But that would give them at least one bat thats good. Have the WBC talked to any cricket players?

  2. 2 lisa gray January 31, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    hi ben!!!

    well, first off, i do feel for teenagers gotta try to hit ML pitching.

    but i’m not a fan of this thing. at all. i wouldn’t really mind if it was all college guys or minor leaguers, but it’s just an extra month to tire guys out and when you hope/expect to be in the postseason, well, the guys are just dead draggin by october.

    and me i will NOT be happy if brad lidge or dan wheeler gets injured. thank GAWD they disrespected roy oswalt (as usual) and he not going…

    lisa

    p.s. – i read you took a law school test – that gonna cut into your writin i think. but maybe not – look at all the posters on BTF who are lawyers/law students…

    good luck


Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Yankees announce Spring Training schedule, pitchers and catchers report February 20th October 21, 2014
    The Yankees officially announced their Spring Training schedule this afternoon. Pitchers and catchers will report to Tampa on Friday, February 20th, four months from  today. Position players report on the 25th and the first full squad workout is day after that. The regular season doesn’t begin until April 6th next year, which is why Spring […]Post from: Rive […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Monday Night Open Thread October 20, 2014
    Long-time Oriole and short-time Yankee Brian Roberts has retired, he confirmed to Dan Connolly. “It was just kind of my time. There were numerous reasons that I felt like I couldn’t play at a level that I was accustomed to and wanted to play at if I continued to play. I always said that I […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New York Yankees blogMonday Night Ope […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Feinsand: Gary Denbo to replace Mark Newman, Pat Roessler out as player development director October 20, 2014
    According to Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have tabbed Gary Denbo to replace Mark Newman as vice president of baseball operations. Newman, who has run the team’s farm system for more than a decade, is retiring. Denbo has been part of the interview process as the Yankees look for a new hitting coach, which was an […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New York Yankees […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Yankees will not hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach October 20, 2014
    Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan did not get the Yankees hitting coach job, he confirmed to Susan Slusser. Magadan and Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis are the only people who have been confirmed to have interviewed for the job, and the Red Sox are set to hire Davis. The Yankees hired Larry Rothschild as pitching […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New Yor […]
    Michael Axisa
  • 2014 Season Review: The Perfect Fit Who Didn’t Fit October 20, 2014
    On paper, signing Kelly Johnson to a one-year contract worth $3M last offseason made perfect sense for the Yankees. They had questions at both second and third bases, plus he’s a dead pull left-handed hitter who figured to take advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch. When Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners a […]Post from: River Ave. Blues […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Cafardo: Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang to be posted this offseason October 20, 2014
    According to Nick Cafardo, the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization will make star shortstop Jung-Ho Kang available to MLB teams via the posting process this offseason. The posting agreement with KBO is different than the posting agreement with Nippon Pro Baseball in Japan. The posting system for Korean players is the same as […]Post from: River A […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Fan Confidence Poll: October 20th, 2014 October 20, 2014
    2014 Record: 84-78 (633 RS, 664 RA, 77-85 pythag. record), didn’t qualify for postseason Top stories from last week: Among others, the Yankees interviewed both Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan and Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis for their open hitting coach job. The Red Sox have since hired Davis. The Yankees are also said to […]Post from: River Ave. B […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Bradford: Red Sox hire Yankees hitting coach candidate Chili Davis October 19, 2014
    Via Rob Bradford: The Red Sox are hiring Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis to be their new hitting coach. The Yankees interviewed Davis for the same role last week, so this takes him out of the running. New York also interviewed Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan as well as some other unnamed candidates. They could […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New York […]
    Michael Axisa
  • Weekend Open Thread October 19, 2014
    Your browser does not support iframes. TGIF, am I right? This was a long and busy week for me. I’ll be glad to kick back for a few days this weekend. The Friday chats are coming back soon — probably not next week, but they’ll definitely be back soon. My schedule’s been pretty hectic of […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New York Yankees blogWeekend Open Thread […]
    Michael Axisa
  • DotF: Judge, Bird continue to rake in the Arizona Fall League October 19, 2014
    The video above, which comes courtesy of Kiley McDaniel, is OF Juan De Leon at Instructional League a few weeks go. The Yankees signed the 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic for $2M back in July and he’s arguably the best prospect they signed during their international spending spree. The video isn’t much, but it’s […]Post from: River Ave. Blues A New […]
    Michael Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 60,506 hits

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: