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.

Advertisements

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.



Advertisements

RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Open Thread: February 18th Camp Notes February 18, 2018
    ?Position players were due to report to Tampa today and, as far as I can tell, everyone arrived without incident. No visa issues or other late arrivals. Giancarlo Stanton was in camp and I gotta say, he looks pretty darn good in pinstripes. Can we fast forward to the start of the season please? Anyway, […] The post Open Thread: February 18th Camp Notes appea […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Stepping Up: Aaron Hicks in 2018 February 18, 2018
    I’ve been a part time player, so to speak, a lot in my life. Before landing a full-time job in the summer of 2016, I was something of a migrant teacher. In Connecticut, between April of 2013 and June of 2016, I taught in five schools, never for more than a year at a time, […] The post Stepping Up: Aaron Hicks in 2018 appeared first on River Avenue Blues. […]
    Matt Imbrogno
  • Open Thread: February 17th Camp Notes February 17, 2018
    ?The spring clubhouse is about to get a lot more crowded. Position players are due to report to Tampa tomorrow, with the first full squad workout scheduled for Monday. The first Grapefruit League game is Friday. Can’t wait. Here’s the latest from Tampa: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman were […] The post Open Th […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Saturday Links: Judge, Captain’s Camp, Farm System Rankings February 17, 2018
    Position players will report to Spring Training tomorrow and, one week from yesterday, the Yankees will play their first Grapefruit League game. Can’t come soon enough. Here are some links to check out on the final weekend without Yankees baseball until (hopefully) November. Judge takes over Captain’s Camp Now that Derek Jeter has jumped shipped […] The post […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Thairo Estrada shot in hip during botched robbery February 17, 2018
    Infielder Thairo Estrada, the No. 10 prospect in the Yankees’ farm system, was shot in the right hip during a botched robbery in his native Venezuela last month, the Yankees announced yesterday. “The situation there is not very safe. As baseball players, it makes you think about (not going back) anymore,” said Estrada during a […] The post Thairo Estrada sho […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Open Thread: February 16th Camp Notes February 17, 2018
    A few notes from the last two days of Spring Training: Giancarlo Stanton arrived in camp today (he’s a Yankee now, by the way) to begin adjusting to a different environment and new teammates. Other position players arriving today include Tyler Austin, Tyler Wade, and Clint Frazier. As per Jack Curry, Clint Frazier had his […] The post Open Thread: February 1 […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: February 2013 February 16, 2018
    Spring Training is now underway and I guess this is as good a time as any to take an overdue look back at the MLB Trade Rumors archives. Little did we know five years ago that the Yankees were about to miss the postseason for the first time since 2008 and only the second time […] The post Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: February 2013 appeared first on River A […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Mailbag: Montgomery, Arbitration, Rule 5 Draft, Corbin, Lineup February 16, 2018
    Ten questions in the mailbag this week. You know, only one more mailbag after this one before the first Spring Training game. Can’t wait. Send your questions to RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com and I’ll get to as many as I can each week. Alessandro asks: With Darvish signing with the Cubs, some people speculate […] The post Mailbag: Montgomery, Arbitration, R […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Jordan Montgomery says he didn’t have his changeup in 2017, which means he could be even better in 2018 February 15, 2018
    Although they were connected to pretty much every available starter this offseason, the Yankees opened Spring Training with five starters for five spots earlier this week. Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray, Masahiro Tanaka, and Jordan Montgomery are the projected rotation and that is pretty darn good. That’s the rotation that got the Yankees to […] The […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Post-hype Tyler Wade and the second base opening February 15, 2018
    When position players report to Spring Training on Sunday, the Yankees will have a small army of infielders competing for the second and third base jobs. Veterans Danny Espinosa and Jace Peterson are on minor league deals while prospects Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Thairo Estrada, and Tyler Wade are on the 40-man roster. Don’t forget […] The post Post-hy […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,657 hits

%d bloggers like this: