Wednesday, March 11, 2009

World Baseball Flacid

Everyone loves naughty sounding titles.

Here's all the WBC news you don't care that much about:

Dominican Republic was beaten twice by the Netherlands and eliminated. One can only assume that this is A-Rod's fault.

There's a bigger beef with the classic set-up, namely that DR had a chance to eliminate Netherlands even though they already played them. It's fortunate that the Netherlands won and made this point somewhat moot, but how stupid is it that you can beat a team once and still be ousted by them in the first round.

Same can be said for the determination of the first round "pool winner." In pool C, USA beat Venezuela 15-6 in the first meeting, but lost to them 5-3 in the pool deciding game and so come in as the 2nd seed from the pool. Let's think about this... or not, let's think less about this and just look at the obvious problems. I like numbered lists, so here's the list with numbers:

1) USA won its first two games and thus earned a game off. Who needs a game off after two games? Besides, there are all kinds of stipulations from the MLB clubs that a player has to rest for one game. If you make them play a third game, the MLB players could rest and get that out of the way there, if you don't play the third game, they have to rest in pool winner game. Stupid.

2) USA played Venezuela twice with an aggregate score of 20-9. Yet somehow Venezuela won the pool.

3) USA didn't even play Italy.

It's not just a USA bias, Japan got hosed worse than USA. Here's the list of hosing:

1) Japan also won its first two games and earned a day off.

2) Japan played Korea twice with an aggregate score of 14-3. Yet somehow Korea won the pool.

3) Japan didn't even play Taipei.

4) This is basically back to number 2 but I was digging the symmetry. So, Japan won its first game against Korea 14-2. That's bad. What's worse is that it was called on the mercy rule in the 7th inning. So the game where Japan was having its way with Korea got called early. This means that Japan lost the chance to knock around more Korean pitchers that would have possibly then been unavailable for the second meeting. At least the Japanese players would have gotten the chance to see more Korean pitchers and have a better chance against them. It is not like the Korean win was impressive, it was a 1-0 error fest (baserunning faux-pas mostly).

Back to the DR vs Hothlanders oddities. One good thing out of pool D is that Puerto Rico beat Holland twice to win the pool (8-1 aggregate). The bad is what could have happened.

Holland played 4 games in a pool with 3 other pool members, but somehow played DR twice and PR twice and never played Panama. That's stupid on its own. Worse though is that the Netherlands beat DR in their first meeting (3-2), but then had to play another 10 inning game before either team scored again.

In fact, if you combine the two games between DR and Holland, you would see a 20 inning stink-fest. Holland scored 3 runs in the first inning, then didn't score again until the bottom of the 20th inning and somehow won two games. DR scored in the 4th, 5th, and 20th innings, but only scored one run in each of those (1 run on a solo home run by Miguel Tejhghda). This is not good or entertaining baseball.

Maybe I'm a soccer freak, but why is there not an easier way to play this tournament? Why not have all 4 teams in a pool play each other? Why do some teams play 3 games and some play 4? Why is the advantage of locking up a spot in the second round taking a game completely off instead of getting the top seed in the pool?

At least the seeding is so bad that it might not affect anything.


Philthy Phil said...

Take a look at Pool B... Australia beats up on Mexico 17-7 called in the 8th inning. Australia then gets eliminated by Mexico after a 16-1 game called in the 6th.

Some parts of this tournament are almost a joke. I realize it's only the 2nd time around but it seems like different teams show up every day. Just a series of teams getting crushed and then crushing the same team the next day. I'm not so sure this is worth ditching olympic baseball for. In some ways it makes sense and i'm not sure what the olympic rules are but get rid of the mercy rule! These are grown men athletes. We don't need to baby them. My personal favorite is the 13th inning rule where every inning starts with runners on 1st and 2nd. Just play the game already.

I realize this post reminds me of the conversation my grandma always has with me when we watch baseball... "They used to play 2 games a day and have one pitcher the whole game, none of this changing the pitcher every batter crap. And the games were short!" Oh well...

Here's to hoping they weeded out some teams and we can have some better matchups in Pools 1 and 2.

Dionysum said...

Good catch on Mexico-Australia. At least the aggregate was 23-18 for Mexico.

I honestly think the event would be much better if and when baseball comes back to the Olympics. However, this can only happen if MLB actually let's players go mid-season or, better yet, actually pauses the season like hockey or soccer.