Monday, March 2, 2009

World Baseball Classic - A Quick Reason to Care and a Long Reason Not to.

Well, its baseball... and if that's not reason enough to watch before the Major League Baseball Season starts, then I don't know what is. It does give a chance for MLB fans to see their teams' players play some sort of competitive ball before the season starts, and it also helps fantasy players gauge and scout ballplayers.

What's wrong with it? Well, its a glorified All-Star game, pitch counts, mercy rules, and all; which for being an MLB fan, it means very little. However, I've got a bigger gripe here with a player that we have recently heard all too much about... Alex Rodriguez. Its really not his fault this time, but I really wish the World Baseball Classic would get a hold on this. Some of this is my fault for being lazy with my research, but after about an hour or so of digging, I have yet to come up with rules that would apply. Here's what I have been trying to find out: what are the rules regarding a player and who they play for? Here's what I found so far. Great, but I want more. A-Rod played with the USA team in 2006 and will be playing with the Dominican Republic team in 2009. Honestly, I don't care which team he plays for, but I feel like once you have chosen a national team to play for, you shouldn't be able to switch at your leisure.

I attempted to quickly dig up some information about the Olympics with little success, however, being the soccer fan that I am, I was able to dig up an interesting tid-bit about international soccer. With international soccer, you can play for any national team for which you have citizenship, however, once you have played for one national team, you can no longer play for any other national team. A rule that I have recently come to appreciate and that the WBC should look into possibly enforcing. FIFA is researching their definition of "nationality" in this circular, because it appears that once a non-naturalized citizen no longer becomes a permanent resident of that country the rules are hazy about playing for national teams (another blog for another time, if ever), but it does give you a good idea about how they define "nationality."

Regardless, if the World Baseball Classic doesn't solidify their definition for "nationality" and continues to let dual nationality players jump from national team to national team, I am afraid that the competition is not going to be seen as anything more than just a joke, which some might argue it already is. Even more so, I am surprised Team USA and/or American media is not giving Alex Rodriguez as much heat about playing with them as they did for the last WBC. If it was such an outrage before, why not so much now? Despite the steroid admission, he is still one of, if not the best player in baseball.

With all that in mind, I feel like I have wasted enough time on the World Baseball Classic, jokes and all.


Anonymous said...

I haven't done any reasearch, just from memory. But I recall a female, possibly a gymnast who used to be on the russian team. Then moved to Germany for her son to have a medical procedure because of the health care (and health benefits). Then this past olympics was on the german team. I believe this woman felt like she belonged in Germany and wanted to pay it back. I have more of a problem with a guy like Chris Kaman, who was born in the USA but his grand parents are from Germany and he decides to get citizenship to play for the German national team because hes not good enough for team USA.

Also most top olympic table tennis players are from China but play on other teams like South Korea, because they didn't make the Chinese team.

Chip said...

And... here I am... 4:45am... with the WBC on... China vs. Japan. I'm also typing this with one-hand, holding a baby in the other. He needs to be fed, and I get to watch something other than infomercials.

Chip said...

Nick Markakis... born in New York, played for the Greek National Team in the 2004 Olympics. Remember that? Not too far from Kaman. And very close to any Baltimore fan. I don't have anything against players competing for their parents' national team. I just want to know where a player's loyalties lie when it comes to international competition. There's just something bizarre about switching international teams.

Anonymous said...

My point is that Kaman would play in the next olympics for team USA if they asked him. At least A-Rod could play for USA and just decided against it. What's worse? I guess it depends on how you feel about it.
Also, all the Chinese Table tennis players that don't play for China have no affiliation whatsoever with South Korea or the other nations they play for. They just basically get recruited.

Anonymous said...

Also, by bringing up the olympics, I just wanted to state that there is a prescedent already established.

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