Dice-K DL stint proof that WBC is a bad idea

The Red Sox placed starter Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday due to arm fatigue. Dice-K was brutal in his first two starts, yielding 14 total hits and nine runs in just 6.1 innings of work. He still struck out five, but he gave up three dingers and posted an ERA of 12.79.

Dice-K competed for Japan in the World Baseball Classic and while he only through 14.2 innings, it was obviously enough for him to suffer some arm fatigue. I know the WBC has rules so that pitchers don’t get overworked playing in the tournament, but clearly that isn’t enough because now the Red Sox will be without one of their best pitchers for two weeks.

The WBC is a fun tournament and it’s interesting to watch MLB players compete against each other for their countries. But it isn’t supposed to get in the way of the MLB regular season and clearly it has considering it had some affect on Matsuzaka’s arm.

Bud Selig has to figure out a better format if he wants to continue this tournament going forward. One idea is to put it at the end of the MLB season, since all of the games are being played indoors anyway. It makes no sense for some of these pro ballplayers to be playing in a competitive tournament when they should be getting ready for spring training.

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World Baseball Classic needs format changes to become a global event

Entrepreneurs have said that timing is a key ingredient for making a good idea into a successful business venture. Major League Baseball has failed to read its own marketplace in regards to the World Baseball Classic. It is just bad timing to play this tournament at the beginning of spring training.

Commissioner Bud Selig has said that March is the only realistic time of the year to play the WBC. I disagree with him. This tournament needs to be moved to the middle of the summer if the WBC is going to become baseball’s premier global event. If not, then do not expect crisp, memorable games from athletes not yet in game shape.

The United States’ three-run come-from-behind victory over Puerto Rico last Tuesday night should have been the top story the next morning. Instead, the outcome was scrolled underneath a highlight package of a NIT opening round game or copy filler in your local newspaper.


Well, sport fans are not watching or paying attention to the WBC. No, they’re preoccupied with the NCAA tournament that has firmly established itself as a the major sporting event for this time of the year.

Fans cannot get excited about the WBC if the best players in baseball are not playing in the event. And the ones that are playing, many of them are not ready to compete at a world-class level. Where’s Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay? They should be anchoring the United States pitching staff in this competition. Team USA should not be relying on the arms of Jeremy Guthrie or Ted Lilly in an elimination game.

Do you think the Netherlands would have defeated the Dominican Republic twice in a competition if they were playing at mid-season? And wouldn’t it be great to see Johan Santana of Venezuela trading strikes with Japan’s Dice-K for all the world to watch. This could happen if the WBC is played every two years in place of the All-Star Game in July. How about a single elimination format, with the finals to be played on Sunday evening in front of a prime time audience? No other sporting event would be competing with baseball for the almighty TV ratings.

Baseball owners might not have any interest in giving up a week’s worth of revenue during the high point of their year, and the idea of scrapping the All-Star game every two years might be enough to give the baseball purist a heart attack, but some playoff contenders might welcome a week off to catch their breath for the second half of the baseball season.

Changes need to take place to make the WBC a world event. Right now, this tournament is nothing more than glorified spring training contest.

Team USA falls to Japan in WBC

Team USA’s run in 2009 World Baseball Classic is over following their 9-4 loss to Japan.

Japan used a five-run fourth inning keyed by a critical error by USA second baseman Brian Roberts, and Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 4 2/3 effective innings to guide Japan to a 9-4 win over the United States in front of 43,630 at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. It was the second-largest crowd in Classic history and the biggest on U.S. soil.

Now, Japan is set to face Korea for the fifth time in the tournament, but this time it’s for the championship on Monday night at 9 ET.

Japan actually found itself down, 2-1, entering the bottom of the fourth inning after Roberts led off the game with a home run and David Wright hit an RBI double in the third.

But Japan’s Atsunori Inaba led off the fourth with a single just past the glove of Roberts, and Michihiro Ogasawara followed with a single to center field.

And then Kosuke Fukudome hit what appeared to be a double-play ground ball to second base, but Roberts muffed the play and everyone was safe.

Kenji Johjima then hit a sacrifice fly before Akinori Iwamura tripled home a run. Japan’s Munenori Kawasaki followed with an RBI single and scored on a double by Hiroyuki Nakajima.

United States starter Roy Oswalt was removed after Nakajima’s double, but the damage was already done. Oswalt lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits.

Even though it would have been nice to see them go all the way, it was a nice run for the red, white and blue. Now bring on Opening Day, damn it.

Couch Potato Alert: 3/20

Welcome to the longest-running game show on television today, How’s Your Bracket. I heard that there’s going to be college basketball and more college basketball on television this weekend. March Madness is upon us, and the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament really brings out school pride in alumnus all across the country. Today, you can wear your Stephen F. Austin or North Dakota State t-shirt proudly.

All times ET…

Friday, 8:30 PM: Boston Celtics @ San Antonio Spurs (NBA TV)
Saturday, 8 PM: Boston Celtics @ Memphis Grizzlies (NBA TV)
Sunday, 1 PM: Miami Heat @ Detroit Pistons (ABC)
Sunday, 6 PM: Cleveland Cavaliers @ New Jersey Nets (NBA TV)

Saturday, 9 PM: Vancouver Canucks @ Phoenix Coyotes (CBC)
Sunday, 12:30 PM: Philadelphia Flyers@ Pittsburgh Penguins (NBC)

NCAA Tournament
Friday, 12 PM-12:30 AM: First round action from various sites (CBS)
Saturday, 1 PM-10:30 PM: Second round action from various sites (CBS)
Sunday, 12 PM-7 PM: Second round action from various sites (CBS)

World Baseball Classic
Saturday, 9 PM: Semifinal: Korea vs. Venezuela from Dodger Stadium (ESPN)
Sunday, 8 PM: Semifinal: Japan vs. United States from Dodger Stadium (ESPN)

Chipper Jones: ‘WBC format needs to change’

After aggravating his strained oblique muscle during batting practice for Team USA in preparation for a game against the Netherlands, Chipper Jones says that the format for the World Baseball Classic needs to change.

“There’s some serious problems with the WBC setup,” said Jones, who will skip the rest of the tournament. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. But I wouldn’t do it again under the current format. There’s way too many days off. This tournament could be over by now.”

Jones, who also played in the inaugural WBC in 2006, said he won’t play again if the format isn’t changed.

“Just way too many days off,” he said. “We stayed in Toronto for a week and played three games. I don’t know if you ever stayed in Toronto, but it’s not exactly Las Vegas. To say that we were plucking our eyebrows out one at a time would be an understatement.

“You’re not getting the work in that you should. You’re getting reps, but you’re not getting the at-bats that you need.

“Getting to share a clubhouse with the guys and getting to know people on a different level is the cool part about it. But when you’re talking about a three-week tournament, and you could literally play eight games in three weeks, it’s just too much down time for spring training.”

I’m sure Chipper speaks for a lot of players regarding the WBC. The timing of it is strange and it has to be a small mental and physical grind for the major league players involved. It’s nice that some of these players want to represent America, but having the tournament butt right up against the regular season makes no sense.

If they’re going to have the games be played in doors, why not have the tournament run right after the regular season? They would still have players bow out because of injuries and other concerns, but at least the athletes who do participate would have an entire offseason to rest up before spring training starts again.

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