The news: Bud Selig wants to implement an additional championship baseball series. Redundantly dubbed the Global World Series, the plan would involve the MLB World Series winner playing the Japanese champions. According to Japanese commissioner Ryozo Kato, Seligs “wants to realize the plan before his tenure ends,” in 2012.
Two cliches come immediately to mind: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and leave well enough alone. People will certainly have differing opinions on this, and there’s no need to shout down people who want to see this implemented, but I don’t think it’s necessary. The playoffs already run long enough, and there already appears to be a talent disparity between the Japanese and American leagues.
The unevenness of competition becomes evident when viewing which types of players move to each league. Elite Japanese players come to MLB, while fringe players move to Japan. It’s basically a one-way flow of talent. If Japan loses players from its elite pool, while America loses players from its fringe pool, then can we expect a series between the best of each league to be fair? I’m firmly on the no side.
I’m sure some people will mention Japan’s status as two-time WBC champions, but that should play zero role in this decision. It’s irrelevant, actually. If the Red Sox make the Global World Series, Daisuke Matsuzaka will still play for them. In other words, this is not a battle of nations. This is a battle of leagues, and it’s pretty clear that MLB owns a distinct advantage. It might be better entertainment than the World Series champs playing the winners of the Bricktown Showdown, but there’s little reason to believe that the World Series champs wouldn’t prevail in the vast majority of series.
Then there’s the issue of season length. The World Series champs already play a seven-month schedule. Presumably the series wouldn’t involve a home-away-home scheme for logistical reasons. But if Japan agrees to this, surely the series would rotate every year. Why make the World Series champions, after seven long months of baseball, travel to Japan? It seems like more of a punishment than a reward. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love more baseball. But I’m sure the players enjoy their off-seasons, especially after 162 games and a month-long playoff schedule. Let the men rest.
Ultimately, I do not see anything coming from this. There’s just too much working against it. I won’t say this is just another attempt by Bud Selig to secure his legacy — nah, who am I kidding. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Since not everyone will want to talk about a potential Global World Series, this will double as the open thread. Enjoy.