Monday, 16 March 2009

The World Baseball Classic

Here in Japan the World Baseball Classic is a pretty big deal. The WBC (yeah, I always think first of boxing) is like the World Cup of baseball. Oh wait! If you're American and reading this I mean that the World Cup is like the WBC of football.

I mean soccer.

I mean actually it isn't because America are present with a shrug and a smirk, fielding a second string team, as nicely explained here. I'm very familiar with the practice - American baseball teams find their domestic competitions much more important than competing against other nations that they - probably quite rightly - feel superior to. It was a similar thing with the recent World Club Cup thing that Man U played in.

But even if you invented the sport, even if you are the locus for all baseball activity in the world, you can't claim to be the best nation unless you've tested yourself against every other nation in a fair contest. I'm sure America would win, but until they do, then I'm gonna raise my eyebrow every time an American baseball fan gets superior about American baseball. Of course if their second stringers go on to win this WBC it'll be a pretty big sign.

Anyway, that wasn't what I actually wanted to write about. My aim was to talk about this:

That's the organisation of the WBC competition, which I looked up because I just couldn't follow who was meant to be playing who at any time. Watching Japanese news just confused me further because I can't understand what they're saying, and they used a baffling series of boards and sticky markers that they seemed to be arbitrarily moving around showing all the possible permutations. Here, I'll blow up the Asia group stage that Japan and Korea had to get through to qualify.

And the second round is a similarly tortuous flow chart of seeding and rematches.

I was just wondering... why?

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