Now that the dust has settled and the World Baseball Classic is done for the next 4 years, let’s recap.
I was, overall, pleased with the tournament. The competition was riveting, i.e the Netherlands, it was a fun time for all…especially the Asian fans!
A couple of things I would do to perfect it though would be as follows. (I didn’t come up with all these but felt they should be restated. Unfortunately, I’m not sure where I heard them so if you find the source, let me know.)
The first thing they should do change the way the pool rounds are structured. The first round was fine. One site in Asia, one in Latin America, one in North America and maybe one in Europe or Africa. After that though, they should take the pool winners and move them all to one site or region like Southern California. Here you could have Petco Park, Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium and either some of the local minor league parks (They had a lot of empty seats at some of those games) or you could go as far north as ATT Park in San Francisco. (Being geographically ignorant, I’m fairly sure that Japan and Korea could do something similar.) With those eight pool “winners” you could have festival tournament. With that you could have some doubleheaders and generate lots more interest from many different groups. There could be parades, fesitivals etc. Like the Super Bowl or All-Star Game. This would help create the feeling of a happening. An event. What we had was scattered games around the world but you didn’t get the feeling it was very cohesive.
While the event itself tries to be round-robin tournament, the really need to set it up as a playoff in the later rounds. When they get down to the final four teams the should do a best of three series. One hanging curveball or slumping .350 hitting performance should not determine a winner. In a game determined by thirds, this would be a better alternative. As Tommy Lasorda says, “You’re going to win a third of your games and lose a third of your games but it’s that middle third that determines whether you’ll be remembered. (paraphrased)
Obviously, it can’t go on forever but due to the nature of baseball one game should not be the determining factor. This isn’t football or basketball.