Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baseball's Global Series

Another international baseball event in the design stages I think is another great idea.

Japanese sports media reported Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball (the Japanese pro baseball league) are attempting to establish a series where the champions of both leagues play each other.

While MLB wanted to see its best players wear the uniforms of their countries and play a tournament to grow the game, this could prove to be a better event. It potentially could grow the game within the two countries where baseball is the most popular.

The main problem with the World Baseball Classic has been the unfamiliar site of the game's best players playing for their countries. Players with more than one heritage, like Alex Rodriguez or Mike Piazza, both of whom are heroes in America and spend most of their time living in America, ended up playing for foreign countries in the WBC. This proposal would pit two professional clubs against each other.

And unlike the WBC, which is staged in March during MLB's spring training, the Global World Series could be staged in the late fall. The World Series ends in late October, and the Japan Series is staged around the same time. Could the two leagues broker a deal to play a seven-game series around Thanksgiving?

This past year would have been the prime chance to inaugurate the series. The leagues' two most dominant franchises, the New York Yankees and Yomiuri Giants, both were champions in 2009. It was the Yankees' 27th title and the Giants' 21st. Imagine the two teams facing off to determine which dynasty was superior.

Alternating years could determine home-field advantage. If the U.S. had home-field in 2009, the Yankees could have played three games in Japan, presumably Tokyo, then fly back to a warm west-coast city like Los Angeles or Phoenix to play the final four games. One big story line would be the Japanese players attached to American teams heading home: How would Hideki Matsui play in his return to Japan to face-off against his former team -- he played for Yomiuri from 1994-2002?

If baseball were looking to add an event for a captive audience after Thanksgiving, this is the opportunity. NFL football on Thursday, followed by baseball on Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday.

A multi-country club championship already is staged in Asia between the champions of professional leagues of Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. The Caribbean Series, already extremely popular in that area, involves winter league clubs in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico.

Regular readers of this blog know I am a proponent of the WBC (See here, here and here). That event is important to grow the game outside countries like the U.S. and Japan, where it is traditionally strong. This event is a reward for the two countries where baseball is a major sport. The two teams will not have to worry about getting in shape, pitch counts and injuries ruining seasons. There will be no concerns about building team chemistry. It will just be a series to determine who's better.

I love this idea because I like seeing how our favorite sports are played outside our borders. I hope the two sides can work out a deal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it