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View Full Version : Chipper Jones: Move WBC to November and change the tiebreaker rules



savafan
03-16-2006, 12:46 PM
http://www.newsday.com/sports/printedition/ny-spusa164664148mar16,0,4012885,print.story?coll=ny-sports-print

BY KEN DAVIDOFF
STAFF CORRESPONDENT

March 16, 2006

FULLERTON, Calif. -- This World Baseball Classic has no greater advocate than Chipper Jones. The Atlanta third baseman has spoken repeatedly about his pride in wearing "USA" on his chest.

But as Team USA worked out yesterday at Cal State-Fullerton, not knowing whether it would play another meaningful game in this tournament, Jones offered a couple of suggestions on how to improve this event.

They were major suggestions.

The 1999 National League MVP recommended moving the WBC to November, and he also said the byzantine tiebreaker rules, which he described as "bogus," need to be discarded.

"On November 1, everybody's in shape," Jones said. "There wouldn't be an issue with pitch counts. There wouldn't be an issue with knocking the rust off coming into spring training. Things like that. I think it would be a little bit better tournament. You'd probably see a little more offense and a little more emphasis on starting pitching."

The timing of the WBC has generated the most controversy. The Yankees, and many other clubs that kept their thoughts private, objected that a March schedule forced veteran players to rush their conditioning, playing competitively at a time of year when they usually don't. The shoulder injuries to the Yankees' Johnny Damon and the Cubs' Derrek Lee, neither of whom will start today's second-round finale against Mexico, gives ammunition to the Yankees and others.

Commissioner Bud Selig and the union have argued that no other time of year works. They don't want to break up the season in July, and they fear that too many players would be out of shape and/or out of touch by November.

Jones begs to differ regarding November. "It's a lot easier to stay in shape after a long season with just a month," Jones said. "Rust usually sets in around December, when guys get fat over the holidays. I think it would be less of an adjustment over the end of the season, as opposed to now. Most of the top-flight pitchers are pitching in the playoffs."

Continued Jones: "Especially in my camp, Yankees camp, [veteran players] go out, they get two at-bats the first 10 days of camp, and then they're gone. The intensity, it's not there. We're kind of playing ourselves into shape, hoping to get there by April 1."

The WBC's tiebreaker system, which follows the model for other international baseball tournaments, has vexed Team USA, both in last week's first round and in the second round. The team understood that it was rooting for a South Korea victory over Japan late last night, but barring that, it wanted Japan to score at least eight runs in a nine-inning victory; a low-scoring victory by Japan would have immediately eliminated the U.S. It goes back to the runs allowed - per nine innings - against common opponents among Team USA, Japan and South Korea.

"The tiebreaker is bogus. I don't agree with that," Jones said. "I would change that . . . Knock it down to two flights. Do like a double-elimination thing. Have the winners of the two flights play in San Diego."

In all, however, Jones has greatly enjoyed his WBC experience and would recommend it to those who opted not to participate. He most of all liked being the teammate of Roger Clemens, whom he described as "more like Jesus than I thought."

"He's got worldwide respect," Jones said of Clemens. "He's like EF Hutton. When he speaks, people listen."

dman
03-16-2006, 01:12 PM
As much as I dislike Chipper, every point that the guy made was valid. Of course with the exception of what he said about Roger Clemens.

TeamBoone
03-16-2006, 01:36 PM
I like what he said too.

From a player standpoint (game ready) and a fan standpoint (still hungry for baseball after the WS), November sounds like a good time.

KronoRed
03-16-2006, 01:36 PM
Move ST to Feb the regular season start to march and play the WBC in October
:D

oneupper
03-16-2006, 02:24 PM
There are two problems with November. One is the Winter Leagues. It may not mean much to the US fans...but in the Caribbean and Mexico, it is all they have. You could argue (and be right) that the bit Latin stars don't show up for their winter leage teams until December (if at all).
The other is the weather. It's fine in the Caribbean, Florida and perhaps California, but I'm not sure about Asia (if you are going to play in Japan or Korea).
I think this you can work around.

The other point I agree with totally (if I understand it right). Two groups. I'd say 6 teams each (RSA, Italy, China and Australia don't belong yet). Let them play a round robin (five games each). Best two go to the semis...crossing groups (Winner Pool A vs Runner Up Pool B).

Then a final. In all there would be fewer games...but BETTER games.

(To make things fairer, they could do a qualifying round for the the 12th team...that way Australia,RSA, etc..could get a chance).

As for tie-breakers. With 5 games it's less likely (although it is possible to have one team go 5-0 and the other five go 2-3). Leave space in the schedule for an extra game.

vaticanplum
03-16-2006, 02:25 PM
I still think that having the WBC in November would lead to a lot of injuries and a lot of fatigue. I have my doubts that a lot of guys would be willing to play -- they're exhausted, burnt out, and want to get home to their families. The current situation is far from perfect and it messes up the season, but it does not, at the very least, extend it.

TeamBoone
03-16-2006, 04:07 PM
I still think that having the WBC in November would lead to a lot of injuries and a lot of fatigue. I have my doubts that a lot of guys would be willing to play -- they're exhausted, burnt out, and want to get home to their families.

But we have to remember that this is NOT an annual event. They may be willing to bite the bullet every 3-4 years.

Caveat Emperor
03-16-2006, 05:03 PM
I still think that having the WBC in November would lead to a lot of injuries and a lot of fatigue. I have my doubts that a lot of guys would be willing to play -- they're exhausted, burnt out, and want to get home to their families. The current situation is far from perfect and it messes up the season, but it does not, at the very least, extend it.

Plus, in November, the WBC would competing heavily for sports viewership with both the heart of the NFL season, the real crunch-time in college football, and the start of the NBA season.

KronoRed
03-16-2006, 05:45 PM
If they want to do it right it should be in the middle of the year and take a 3 week break.

But MLB won't do that.

ochre
03-16-2006, 05:52 PM
Drop back down to 154 games?

MWM
03-16-2006, 06:14 PM
I agree with Chipper, this timing is horrible. But it's been a pleasant surprise. I've actually enjoyed it and I didn't think I would. Japan has really gotten screwed in this thing and if the US wins it all, that will be one of the biggest stories coming out of it.

I don't know how to work this in, but any single elimination in baseball is bogus. They have to find a way to make it at least 2 out of 3 if you want this to be about the best teams winning.

I'm hoping that the players having a good experience will lead to all the marquis players wanting to play in it. I didn't like the idea of the WBC at first, but now I think it could potentially be a great event. Although, they could just have the Asian countries, the Caribbean countries, and the US and cut it down to a couple of weeks.

TeamBoone
03-16-2006, 06:24 PM
Plus, in November, the WBC would competing heavily for sports viewership with both the heart of the NFL season, the real crunch-time in college football, and the start of the NBA season.

That's only on Sat and Sun.

TeamBoone
03-16-2006, 06:26 PM
Drop back down to 154 games?

You'd want to do this every year for an event that's held every 3-4 yrs?

Caveat Emperor
03-16-2006, 06:29 PM
That's only on Sat and Sun.

And Monday (MNF)...

And Wednesday (ESPN College Football Mid-Majors)...

And Thursday (NFL Network game & ESPN College Football)...

That's not even counting that there isn't a soul indoors on Friday nights throughout the Midwest and South due to High School football.

KronoRed
03-16-2006, 06:33 PM
Drop to 144 ever 4 years.

Big Klu
03-16-2006, 07:02 PM
I think they should leave it in February, and maybe move MLB Spring Training ahead to Feb. 1 every 3-4 years when the WBC is scheduled. I think that playing it in November might be a bad idea. I have heard interviews (and have personally spoken to one former major-league pitcher) that have said that a pitcher's arm is seriously fatigued by the end of the major-league season. Also, if the WBC were to be played after the World Series, I would fear a "Pro Bowl Syndrome" type of apathy among U.S. fans.

I would also leave it at 16 teams, and I would like to see the top eight qualifiers from this year (that is, the eight teams in Round 2) automatically qualify for the next WBC in 2009. Then have a qualifying tournament the year before, in 2008, to determine the other eight teams. Most of them will be taken by teams that were in it this year, but it will give some other countries a chance to participate if they can win one of the eight spots. Are some of those countries ready for the "big time"? Probably not, but simply qualifying will give baseball in those nations a big boost. As for the single-elimination semifinals/finals, I don't mind it. It is a different format than we American fans are used to, but it is very similar to the soccer World Cup format (from which the WBC borrows heavily). Also, as a former high-school baseball coach, I am somewhat used to the urgency of a single-elimination tournament, and I can see the excitement in it.

I have been very critical of Commissioner Bud Selig during his tenure--even to the point of once referring to him as the "antichrist of baseball" in an email that was read on the air by Marty Brennaman. But I think that the WBC is a great idea--probably Selig's best ever. I know that I have bought into it. But we have to get more top players to want to play in it. I'm not a soccer fan, but I think we need to see how they get players, owners, and fans to really buy into the World Cup, and see if some of those ideas would work in the WBC.

Reds Nd2
03-16-2006, 08:20 PM
Drop to 144 ever 4 years.

The owners will never allow that to happen.

Reds Nd2
03-16-2006, 08:25 PM
Japan has really gotten screwed in this thing and if the US wins it all, that will be one of the biggest stories coming out of it.

Well, Mexico just got hosed too and it's the same umpire.

4256 Hits
03-16-2006, 10:28 PM
And Monday (MNF)...

And Wednesday (ESPN College Football Mid-Majors)...

And Thursday (NFL Network game & ESPN College Football)...

That's not even counting that there isn't a soul indoors on Friday nights throughout the Midwest and South due to High School football.

Plus College basketball is starting up.

The biggest problem I see w/ Nov is pitchers. Would you want you star pitcher to throw 200+ innings during the season take all of Oct off (or throw 40 inning in the play-offs) then try to come back and pitch all out in these games?