The other day, as I was watching Euro 2012, I remembered that in 2013 we're going to have the third edition of the World Baseball Classic. For me, the WBC is just another excuse to watch baseball, and even though it has been highly criticized I have to say that I love what it stands for.
I mean, the FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest sports events in the world, and even though I'm not a huge fan of soccer I watch every single World Cup game, because it only happens once every four years, and even if you don't like it, it's history in the making. The same could happen with the WBC if it keeps growing. And I don't have to tell you how it'd be for diehard baseball fans, like me, if the WBC reaches a similar popularity status that the World Cup has.
For that to happen, the WBC needs collaboration with MLB, and each countries' baseball federations. I believe MLB should surrender some of the Spring Training calendar every four years when the WBC takes place. And teams should forget about limitations, something that I understand is really hard to do.
Another factor is that baseball players should feel honored and proud to wear their country's name on their chest. I believe players aren't taking this tournament seriously yet. And in order to gain credibility, players must play with the same enthusiasm like when they're playing in a World Series. It is true that MLB teams are the ones that pay them to play, but I'm a romantic, and I think that carrying my country's name across the chest is one of the biggest honors I could have, and so should they.
For those who love the WBC initiative but think that it hasn't been played well, have patience. The first soccer World Cup was played in 1932 and it was an invitational tournament, just like the WBC. So we might have to wait a couple of decades, maybe more, but if people keep supporting the WBC it'll eventually be something big and spectacular.
By the way, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, but I think the U.S. will be the first country to win both the WBC and the FIFA World Cup, even though they haven't won any of them…
When Ozzie Guillen broke into the Majors as a manager, everybody was talking about “Ozzieball” and thinking that his team was a “one-run strategy” team. But little did we know that this team was relying more on home runs than any other team in the Majors. That's why Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus created a stat called “The Guillen Number,” that represents the percentage of a team's runs scored via home runs.
As you can imagine the first team on this list this season is the New York Yankees, with 52.00% of their runs coming via the long ball. The second one is a little bit of a shocker to me, the Baltimore Orioles with a 45.81 Guillen number. Although they finished the 2011 season in that same order. And the last two aren't a shocker to anybody, San Francisco Giants (25.08 G#) and the San Diego Padres (21.26 G#).
To no one's surprise, the Yankees are the team with the most home runs this season (116) and the Orioles rank fourth in home runs hit (95). In runs, the Yankees rank sixth (350) and the Orioles 18th (310). The Yankees also lead the Majors in ISO (.195) and the Orioles rank eight (.168). Definitely the AL East is one tough league to pitch in.
Image by Keith Allison under the Creative Commons License Agreement.