Cuz I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh.
March 21, 2006 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Omedetou! Japan beat Cuba 10-6 to win the first World Baseball Classic. The team was coached by Sadaharu Oh, one of the great stars of the Japanese leagues (868 home runs to boot), and featured the talents of a few Japanese players who have made the jump to American ball--Ichiro Suzuki and Akinori Otsuka. Is the World Series now an outdated misnomer?
posted by bardic (22 comments total)

 
'There's more to me than you'll ever know
And I've got more hits than Sadaharu Oh...'
posted by jonmc at 2:23 PM on March 21, 2006


"World Series" has long been a symbol of U.S. hubris. And, like U.S. hubris it isn't gonna change any time soon.
posted by spock at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2006


The SportsFilter thread on this is excellent. Congrats to Japan!
posted by DaShiv at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2006


Is the World Series now an outdated misnomer?

If we're talking about club teams, no. MLB is the best collection of club teams in the world, bar none. Not even close really.

If we're talking about which country produces the best baseball players, well, obviously, the best 25 man team of several countries are competitive (Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Korea, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the US). But it doesn't change the fact that the World Series features the two surviving teams from the best league in the world with the best players from all over the world. The fact that the corporate franchises involved in the monopoly that is MLB attach city names from the US and Canada to their businesses is really irrelevant.

"World Series" has long been a symbol of U.S. hubris.

When it originally became known as the "world series", there was only one country in the world that really played baseball. Therefore the name was quite apt. These days, to call it hubris instead of tradition and a "brand" is really silly.
posted by loquax at 2:42 PM on March 21, 2006


"Outdated misnomer?" I'd say perhaps, given the wealth of talent that comes to the Major Leagues from Asia and Latin America.

"Symbol of U.S. hubris?" Eh, not so much. I'd rephrase as "... has long been interpreted as a symbol of U.S. hubris."

And congrats to Japan. The team went from the brink of being unfairly eliminated by bad calls to taking home the trophy.
posted by donpedro at 2:42 PM on March 21, 2006


On post-view, what loquax said.
posted by donpedro at 2:43 PM on March 21, 2006


I read somewhere (too lazy to look up quote) that before the Classic began, normally-humble-Ichiro basically guaranteed a Japan victory and expressed a hope that they could basically establish some sort of baseball dynasty. I liked that sort of trash talk from him, and especially like it now that his promise has come to fruition.
posted by jdroth at 2:45 PM on March 21, 2006


dammit jonmc, i saw the fpp and the first thing i thought was 'beastie boys'.

HEY LAAAAIDEEEES!
posted by Mach5 at 3:43 PM on March 21, 2006


Congrats to Japan!

Seconded! It was great to see two baseball-mad countries like Japan and Cuba in the final. (Why did the Cubans take that pitcher out, anyway? But I guess I should take it to SpoFi...)
posted by languagehat at 4:07 PM on March 21, 2006


Before someone claims the World Series had to do with a newspaper.

Even so, by the time the World Championship Series was started baseball was already in other countries. No, they weren't playing with the fevor the USA was, but neither do the Americans anymore.

Baseball popularity was helped by this series of games. Still, I believe the game will always lag behind the easier to equip games of fĂștbol and basketball.

languagehat: I think Ormani Romero was pulled after 23 pitches because the Cubans had a surplus of strong pitchers. The manager, Higinio Velez, had a quick hook all night.
posted by ?! at 6:32 PM on March 21, 2006


I read somewhere (too lazy to look up quote) that before the Classic began, normally-humble-Ichiro basically guaranteed a Japan victory and expressed a hope that they could basically establish some sort of baseball dynasty. I liked that sort of trash talk from him, and especially like it now that his promise has come to fruition.

Not sure if this is the same quote you're referring to. Before/during the Asian pool play, Ichiro made a statement to the effect of "we will win the pool, and we will win it in such dominating fashion that the other Asian teams will not dare challenge Japan for 30 years." The exact quote was shown on ESPN at one point or another during one of the Korea vs Japan games.

Korean media + fans jumped on him for his seeming cockiness, and he was booed roundly all the time during the American K-vs-J games. Koreans took great pleasure at having him eat his words twice. Not so much after the third game.

BTW Ichiro backtracked after the first loss in Tokyo, saying he didn't direct the words at the other Asian teams, but admitting that the statement could have served as fuel for the Korean team.

I always liked the humble Ichiro who spoke with his performance not with his words, so I wasn't as happy with his change in image. Then there was the supposed cursing after game 2 loss that was captured on camera (it looked liked yelling, but some say he was saying some unmentionable Japanese word?). And his less-than-gracious comments towards Korea after the 2 losses - no acknowledgment of their play - unlike Korean team members who continued to say Japanese baseball is still superior to Korea on the whole.

BIG grain of salt: I read a lot of the above info off Korean news sites, and they are very partisan to say the least when it comes to K-vs-J rivalries!
posted by shortfuse at 6:43 PM on March 21, 2006


I didn't get to see as many of the games as I would've like to, but it was a real win for baseball in a sea of troubles otherwise. In much the same way basketball becoming an international sport coincided with teams perfecting their fundamentals while American squads squabbled over paychecks and egos, beisbol seems to be on a similar tack. And I think it's a great thing to behold.

Cuba is, of course, a wildcard here. It's been said that Castro didn't field some of his best talent for fear of defection.

(And I still can't believe Mexico doesn't have a MLB club. Hell, they have one in MLS.)
posted by bardic at 7:05 PM on March 21, 2006


(And I still can't believe Mexico doesn't have a MLB club. Hell, they have one in MLS.)

The second someone in Mexico scares up say $100m US for the franchise fee, plus say another $200m US to build an MLB-level stadium, plus a relatively secure minimum of about $200m US in revenue per year (50k fans per game*81 games*20 US = only $81m) to be able to afford a payroll of about $100m US per year, they'll get a franchise. Assuming Mexico's laws are conducive to the cartel that is MLB. In other words, maybe our great-grandchildren will see a Mexico City team, but we won't, unless it's an MLB-owned team operating at a loss to build goodwill or something.

I wish North American sports were organized more like the national soccer leagues in the rest of the world, but the relatively limited appeal of each and the current structure ensures that we're stuck with these monopolists forever. Oh for relegation, so that owners are not rewarded for penny-pinching, and the Royals could slip quietly into AAA...

By the way, I loved the WBC, but something has to change. Maybe a qualification round, where the teams that didn't qualify for the semis have to fight to join the rest in what was the second round this time. Have those final groups play two games each against each other, instead of these one-offs, and maybe best-of-three's in the semis and finals. This tournament felt too rushed (understandably, what with spring training and all), and could do with some second chances, fiercer rivalries, and time for drama to build. For the US to have been almost knocked out after losing just one game in the first round is almost as silly as the fact that Canada didn't advance despite losing only one game.
posted by loquax at 7:30 PM on March 21, 2006


Some believe that MLB is signalling an intention to expand outside the US via the WBC, even if only making places like Mexico natural markets for American teams (which is happening already). So they may not even need to put the team in the foreign country to capture the fans. Some believe that a Mexican team is only a matter of time.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on March 21, 2006


Baseball expanded outside the US in 1969. By the mid-90s MLB owners realized that dealing with foreign governments was a royal pain. I'll bet the only way anyone outside the US will get a franchise is if they build the stadium first.
posted by ?! at 10:11 PM on March 21, 2006


(Why did the Cubans take that pitcher out, anyway? But I guess I should take it to SpoFi...)

The pitchers were only allowed to throw a limited amount of times. Was it 65 pitches? I heard this rule explained on Dutch television, early in the series, but haven't come accross this anywhere else.
posted by ijsbrand at 12:15 AM on March 22, 2006


I predict lots of baseball marketing deals in other countries (e.g. closer marketing ties and exhibitions between MLB and the Mexican major leagues). But I don't think you'll see any more MLB expansion into foreign countries within our lifetimes. Besides the money, there's the competitiveness issue. No one is going to pony up the cash for a team and a stadium if MLB rules regarding revenue sharing and salary structures remain the same, which would all but guarantee that a Mexican team is a cellar-dweller. Also keep in mind that a Mexican team wouldn't automatically get all the Mexican talent. All the really good Mexican players already play in the MLB.
posted by frogan at 1:10 AM on March 22, 2006


Is the World Series now an outdated misnomer?

Always has been...
posted by metaxa at 2:37 AM on March 22, 2006


Is the World Series an outdated misnomer? It's always been a misnomer. I don't care whether or not the strongest clubs are in MLB or not. You become a world champion by winning a world championship, and that means competitive games against other countries champions. The Spanish League is the strongest football league in the world, yet you don't see Barcelona proclaiming themselves world champions of football. For that matter, you don't see the champions of the Australian Rules league call themselves world champions either. It's a strange American obsession to always by number one. (I was really disappointed when MLS didn't call it's champion world champions as well!) The fact that there were so few MLB players in the WBC final only demonstrates that if MLB calls it's champion world champions in the future, it should be treated with the derision it deserves.

There is no Mexican club in MLS. There is a Los Angeles based club owned by a Mexican, targetting Hispanics as their core support. It's as daft as saying America (Man Utd) and Russia (Chelsea) have clubs in the English Premiership.
posted by salmacis at 2:49 AM on March 22, 2006


dammit jonmc, i saw the fpp and the first thing i thought was 'beastie boys'.

Well, it is in the thread's title. Subliminal messaging.
posted by yerfatma at 4:44 AM on March 22, 2006


loquax writes "When it originally became known as the 'world series', there was only one country in the world that really played baseball. "

Which would imply a National Series no?
posted by Mitheral at 1:54 PM on March 22, 2006


Which would imply a National Series no?

Well, would you call the superbowl the world championship of American football? There's certainly no other club team in the world that's better than an NFL team, and all NFL teams happen to be in one nation, just like baseball, especially back then. I'm happy to call the Australian Aussie rules championship the world champion of Aussie rules.
posted by loquax at 8:04 PM on March 22, 2006


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