Archive for March, 2013

The Sex Tape (cont - 3)

Monday, March 25th, 2013

The sparse attendance did not help bring in a lot of revenue. What were once luxuries of convenience were being eliminated with the franchise being operated in an austere fashion, except for the $10 million consultancy fee being paid to Rueben. His consultancy fees made him the highest salaried employee on the books and that included the ball player’s salaries.

Larvell had stripped the roster of all the large salaries, so there was no pressure being placed on him to get rid of the dead weight. The cuts were being made in other areas, such as the buffet spread for the players before and after the game, the washing of the uniforms from every day after a game to every other day, the salaries being paid the administrative staff who were replacing more experienced staff who had been let go because of their higher salaries. It was more common to see interns who were not getting paid but getting the experience to do the work once done by paid employees to cut down on expenses. While the interns were young and enthusiastic, they had issues trying to figure out what needed to be done to keep a franchise running. Scouts were also being squeezed with their per diem expenses to the extent many of them had left and were not being replaced. Loyalty can only take you so far. Moose complained to Larvell who pleaded with Ruben to open the budget to hire more scouts. If you were not going to spend money to stock your team with expensive veteran free agents you had to move that money to scouts to identify the talented younger players. It was the only way for this team to improve. The young talent needed to be discovered. No action had been taken to free up money to hire the additional scouts needed to replace those who had left.

It was fortunate they had completed their contract for the new Dominican facilities so the money had been committed, otherwise that operation may have been put on hold. Pablo had approached Larvell about running the facilities next year, leaving his position as international scouting director. That would mean Larvell had to find someone else to replace Pablo. The way this franchise was cutting cost he would have to find someone at a discounted rate

Many other contracts for transporting players and providing lodging had been completed in advance as well. They were still good until the end of the year. Next year players could be forced to stay in four star hotels rather than five star hotels. That would not be a good selling point to attract free agents.

Larvell heard these bits and pieces of information from the people who worked in the financial area of the game as he tried to address the Commissioner’s inquiries. If what he was learning was true Larvell would have difficulty keeping players with large contracts if he ever turned this team around. Word gets around quick in this league when you start nickel and diming luxuries that were once expected.

It was a warm April, good to get out of the brick warehouse. He had received a call from Mr. Hwa, who requested a meeting for lunch with Larvell by the Baltimore Harbor. Larvell couldn’t do a lunch because of a previous commitment, but he was open to a late afternoon meeting. With the warm sun and blue skies it was a good day to be by the harbor.

Larvell found Mr. Hwa sitting on a bench with his expensive pair of shades watching the couples peddling their dragon water boats in the distance as they navigated around a roped off area of the bay. He was dressed in his usual tailored suit, sharply pressed, which made him look out of place among the tourists passing him by. It was past lunch time so all the suits were in their air conditioned buildings doing what they did to keep the city moving. His hair was glued in place. Not a strand was blowing in the light wind. His spit and polished shoes emitted a glare from the sun.

The last time he had spoken to Mr. Hwa it was over the phone when he had informed Larvell about the dismissal of Kathy Li. Mr. Hwa had yet to give him any hint what this current meeting would be about. It had to have some importance for him to travel all the way from China to meet. A simple phone call would seem to suffice to communicate a message, but Mr. Hwa was not comfortable talking over the phone. He wanted to meet Larvell in person.

Top South and Other Central American Prospects

Monday, March 25th, 2013

This list of prospects does not include Venezuela and Dominican Republic, since they will have a list all their own.  Brazil and Colombia seemed to be popular destinations of scouts while the number of prospects from Panama and Nicaragua appear to be falling, based on the names appearing on this list.

Julio Teheran (Colombia) again repeats as the top prospect on this list.  The way he pitched in winterball and the way he is pitching in the spring, it could be a break out year for him.  Randal Delgado (Panama) had a poor major league season and no longer qualifies as a prospect.  Erasmo Ramirez (Nicaragua) also graduated to the major leagues, but he had a better year than Delgado.  Dimasther Delgado (Panama) had a decent year in his recovery from injury but dropped from the list.  You can see the complete list from last year here: http://myworldofbaseball.com/wordpress/?p=500

1. Julio Teheran RHP (Colombia) Atlanta Braves - Myworld has watched him make four spring training starts.  In his last two starts he has not given up a hit or a run in eleven innings.  He can throw his fastball in the mid-90s, but he has better command of the pitch when he keeps it in the low 90s.  Pitching is similar to real estate with everything based on location.  Julio was voted with the best change in the Braves system.  Expect him to contend for the rookie of the year title in 2013.

2. Jorge Alfaro C (Colombia) Texas Rangers - His signing with the Rangers for $1.3 million in 2010 set a record for a Colombian prospect.  With the limit teams have with their international bonuses it will be a record that will be difficult to break.  Alfaro does not have a lot of experience behind the plate so the more he plays the better his tools.  He has a good arm and has the athleticism to play the position.  He has the potential to hit for power but must cut down on his strikeouts if he hopes to hit for average.  The Rangers have no one in their system from preventing him from being their catcher of the near future.

3. Christian Betancourt C (Panama) Atlanta Braves - He plays a solid defense.  The question with Christian is whether his bat will be good enough to be more than a backup.  There was also some concern with his focus.  With the injury to Brian McCann, Christian has the opportunity to make the 25 man roster as the back up catcher.  Last year he played 71 games in AA and hit .243.  He needs to show better patience or major league pitchers will carve him up.

4. Andre Rienzo RHP (Brazil) Chicago White Sox - A good spring may have put him in consideration for a spot in the starting rotation.  That has not happened.  He also had a little trouble pitching for Brazil in the World Baseball Classic.  He lost a lot of time last year with a 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, which delayed the start of his 2012 season.  He dominated A ball upon his return (1.08), still pitched well in AA (3.27) and did not give up an earned run in his only start in AAA.  He has a low 90s fastball and a nice breaking curveball, but the lack of an effective change could keep him from the starting rotation.

5. Cheslor Cuthbert 3B (Nicaragua) Kansas City Royals - Cheslor signed in 2009 rated as the seventh best international prospect.  A shortstop out of Curacao Jurickson Profar was rated number 15 while Miguel Sano was rated the top international prospect.  He hasn’t quite reached his hype, his power numbers dropping his last three years from a slugging percentage of .420 to .322.  Currently his plus power has only shown in batting practice.  If he can find his power Cheslor should have all the tools defensively to play third base.

6. Luiz Gohara LHP (Brazil) Seattle Mariners - Luiz signed in 2013 so there is no history on him.  As a 16 year old he throws a fastball in the high 80s to low 90s.  At 6′3″ 220 pounds he is a big boy who must pay attention to his conditioning.  He also needs to work on his secondary pitches to achieve any kind of success.  The Mariners will start him in a short season league.

7. Jabari Blash OF (Virgin Islands) Seattle Mariners - Born in the Virgin Islands he was drafted in the eighth round when he went to Miami Dade Junior College to play baseball.  Jabari has the potential to be above average in all five tools, but those tools are raw.  Last year he hit 15 homeruns, but he also struck out 134 times in 113 games.  He was 13 for 20 in stolen bases and showed enough patience to walk 60 times.  Time will tell whether the 6′5″ 225 pounder finds the pitch recognition to hit in the major leagues.

8. Harold Ramirez OF (Colombia) Pitsburgh Pirates - The Pirates inked Harold for over $1 million in 2011.  He was considered the 15th best prospect, just behind Cleveland shortstop Dorssys Paulino.  He has the speed to play center but his defense is still spotty.  Some scouts believe he will develop power, but others doubt it will show.  This will be critical if he has to move to left field.  He may need a little more time in short season ball before he gets promoted to Low A.

9. Dilson Herrera 2B (Colombia) Pittsburgh Pirates - A modest 2010 signing Dilson has hit .297 with a .481 slugging percentage in his brief two year minor league career.  He lacks the arm strength to play short and his power is restricted to the gaps.  He has the speed to steal twenty plus bases.

10. Giovanny Urshela 3B (Colombia) Cleveland Indians - The fifth player on this list born in Colombia to appear on this list.  Giovanny was signed in 2008, but had a breakout year last year for power, hitting 14 homeruns.  He plays good defense so with the development of power he profiles well at third.  He needs to work more on his patience, walking only 59 times in his 1400 minor league at bats.  He should be ready for AA in 2013 but has Lonny Chisenhall ahead of him.

Astros Win Rain Shortened Game

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

The Astros downed the Miami Marlins 4-1 after a deluge hit Florida in the bottom of the fifth to finish the game.  David Martinez gave up eight hits in four innings but only gave up one run to get the win.  Jose Veras gave up two hits in the fifth put still picked up the save.  The rains came with two out in the fifth and the Marlins in the process of changing pitchers.

The Marlins struck first on a Giancarlo Stanton opposite field single to right to score Juan Pierre.  The Astros erased the lead in the second when Fernando Martinez doubled into the gap to score Rick Ankiel.  Fernando scored on a fly ball by Matt DominguezBrett Wallace slugged a 2-run homer in the third to expand the lead to 4-1.

The Marlins stranded eight runners, leaving runners on third in the last three innings.  Jacob Turner got the start for the Marlins and pitched four plus innings.  He walked four, with two of those walks crossing the plate.

Game Notes: Ronny Cedeno made his debut and should have been charged with an error on the first ball ball hit to him.  He backed up on a high bouncer which took a quick hop to scoot past him…Wilson Valdez was recently released by the Phillies and got the start at short for the Marlins…Trevor Crowe made a nice diving catch on a fly ball hit by Ginacarlo Stanton.  With J.D. Martinez sent down he could win an outfield job.  He is seeing more playing time…Greg Dobbs had two doubles and a single in three at bats…Fernando Martinez has lost a lot of speed on the bases and in the outfield…Rick Ankiel stroked two hits with a walk in three at bats…Despite a torrential downpour no tarp was placed over the infield.  The only tarp was placed over the mound and over the home plate area.  It will be interesting to see what shape the infield is in on Monday evening when the Astros play the Nationals.

2013 Cuban All Star Game

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Today Cuba held their All Star Game with the West beating the East 13-9.  The West scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to overcome a 9-6 deficit to even their series with the East at 13 wins apiece.  You can see the box score for the game here: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/BOXSCORES/52SN-Boxscores/JuegodeEstrellas2013/__www.beisbolcubano.cu_statistic_boxscore.asp_idGame=3260.pdf

Yasmany Tomas, Stayler Hernandez and Eriel Sanchez hit homeruns for the West to drive in eight of the 13 runs.  Jose Fernandez crossed the plate three times.  For the East Yoelvis Fiss bashed two homeruns to drive in three.  He also crossed the plate three times.  Edilse Silva also hit a homerun and drove in three runs for the East.

Pitching was in short supply with Carlos Alvarez being allowed to pitch the eighth for the East and giving up seven runs on three hits and four walks.

You can see the rosters and learn some history about the game here: http://www.baseballdecuba.com/newsite/newsContainer.asp?id=3140

Baseball in China Struggling

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

The win over Brazil in the World Baseball Classic keeps the sport of baseball from flat lining in China.  With the elimination of baseball from the Olympics the baseball association saw their budget cut by 75 percent.  They are now reliant on major league baseball for keeping the sport visible in China.  Major league baseball is focusing on developing the program through the youth with programs like Play Ball.  The hope is the early exposure of baseball with the youth will help the sport grow.

You can read the article here: http://www.chinasportsbeat.com/2013/03/still-swinging-away.html#more

The Sex Tape (cont 2)

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

As Rigo explained, “If there is a sex tape on me I want it lasting longer than five minutes. Three minutes of that was with her undressing him. That must have been a task. She had barely touched him and he was erupting like Mount St. Helens, except with not as much lava flow. His penis looked like a fat little worm trying to crawl out of a bird’s nest.”

Even though the tape was only five minutes long there were two close-ups of Ruben with his triple chins, a huge, satisfied smile on his face and a large flow of sweat dripping from his brow. It was a brief moment of joy, passing almost as quickly as a fart. The jelly roll from his stomach was massive with huge peaks and valleys hiding whatever this Asian woman was doing near his waist. This woman had the long, silky black hair that effectively hid her face with a butterfly tattoo they all recognized located just above the crack of her ass. It was the same butterfly tattoo they had all seen from Kathy Li the night of the ballgame. Rigo tried his best to get a picture of her face, but it was a carefully edited video.

Ruben locked himself in the office once the tape was made public to the press. According to his secretary he was not taking any phone calls. The good news from that is the calls from Ruben on the status of Jason Woo had stopped. As the days had passed the calls were slowing down to just one call every couple days. The press may have forgotten about Jason, but Ruben had some bobbleheads to sell. He had already contracted out to a Chinese manufacturer to produce 100,000 of them. They were being shipped to Baltimore today. Payment was due 30 days after receipt.

“Don’t you think that is a little extreme? Shouldn’t we just start at 10,000 and see how they sell. Where are we going to put all those bobbleheads?”

“Larvell my man,” Ruben had explained to him in his pretentious drone. “It’s economies of scale. We get a better price when we order in bulk. I have no doubt these babies will sell. You make the baseball decisions I’ll handle the business side of things.”

With Jason’s disappearance doubt had crept in. Now Ruben was holed up in his office, telling his secretary he did not want to be disturbed. A 100,000 bobbleheads would be on their way and a sex tape had hit the airwaves. Larvell found himself being swallowed up in a black hole.

“Would you want to be seen in public knowing you starred in a sex tape that was only five minutes long?” Rigo was cruel with his criticism. “No wonder he has been divorced twice already.”

If Larvell had been in Ruben’s shoes he might have locked himself in the office for a couple days, even if the tape had been twenty minutes long. The positive note of all this is a five minute tape will leave a less lasting mark in the memory bank. Timbuktu would be a nice place to go after a tape like that. Lose yourself in the sandy desert. Perhaps get kidnapped by a band of Bedouin tribesmen.

Major league baseball did not like what they had seen of the tape. In light of the fact the original owner was now suffering from Alzheimer’s and the son was implicated in a sex tape meant the commissioner was looking to have a new ownership group in place, especially since this current ownership group had sent the Orioles into a 20 year losing spin and seemed to be getting deeper in debt.

There was no official announcement the Orioles current ownership was being pressured to sell, but there was enough tangential evidence the wheels were moving in that direction. Questions were being asked of Larvell by the Commissioner’s office about payroll, leases, long term financial commitments, all the things he had become exposed to when teams are being put up for sale.

As Larvell looked into the financial transactions to address some of the Commissioner’s questions he learned the extent of the Orioles financial trouble. Ruben had mismanaged the Orioles financial situation to the extent he was forced to borrow money last year from major league baseball to keep the franchise afloat. The minority investment of the Chinese conglomerate was a temporary band-aid to address the financial difficulties, but there were major convulsions occurring through all levels of the franchise. Nobody knew where the money was going, though there was a $10 million a year salary being paid to Ruben for consulting fees Larvell found troubling.

Teheran Tosses Six Innings of No-hit Ball in Braves Win Over Astros

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

The last time myworld watched Julio Teheran pitch he threw five innings of no hit ball, striking out six.  Today he threw six innings of no hit ball, striking out 10.  The Braves only managed three hits, but all three ball travelled over the wall to give the Braves a 3-2 win over the Astros.

Myworld has never been to a game in which no singles were hit.  Myworld has also never been to a game with only five hits, four of them travelling over the fence.  Both hits for Houston were by Rick Ankiel, a double in the seventh and a 2-run homer in the ninth inning off Craig Kimbrel that pulled the Astros to within 3-2.

The only inning in which Julio struggled was in the first when he walked two.  He also struck out three in the inning, his last skipping past the catcher.  Even though Fernando Martinez reached first after the strikeout the umpires still ruled him out, so we can only assume he was running on the inside part of the baseline.  No throw was made, but it appeared Evan Gattis could have made a throw but perhaps yielded so as not to hit the baserunner.

Philip Humber pitched for the Astros.  He pitched well, only giving up three hits in six innings.  All three of the hits were homeruns.  Dan Uggla and Evan Gattis connected on pitches in the second inning to give the Braves a 2-0 lead.  Jordan Parraz connected in the fifth to up the lead to 3-0.

Game Notes: The Astros only two hits were by late inning replacement Rick Ankiel, who doubled in the seventh and homered in the ninth…In all the games we have watched Houston play myworld rarely sees Jose Altuve swing at a poor pitch.  He struck out twice today swinging at poor pitches, one that broke low and away and the other that crossed the plate at his eyes…Andrelton Simmons played some gold glove defense today, robbing Astro hitters of at least two hits…The guy who sang the national anthem at the game sat in the same row two seats down from me.  That is when I thought about buying a powerball ticket…Rhiner Cruz came in to pitch and hit 97 on his fastball.  He retired the Braves in order, one via the strikeout.

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospects - 30 -21

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Just two more top tens to go before getting to number one.

30. Bubba Starling OF (Kansas City Royals) 6.78 - Bubba is one of those raw prospects that had an offer to play quaterback at the University of Nebraska.  The Royals paid him $7.5 million to erase those dreams and play baseball after drafting him in the first round in 2011.  He’s a local boy who went to high school in Kansas with the potential to be a five tool player with power, centerfield speed and a strong arm.  The big concern was his 70 whiffs in 53 games in his debut.  This could prevent him from hitting for a high average if he doesn’t learn to make better contact.

29. Anthony Rendon 3B/2B (Washington Nationals) 6.82 - Anthony is not a big guy.  An ankle injury allowed him to drop to the sixth pick in the 2011 draft by the Nationals.  Those ankle injuries continued to bother him in his professional debut.  He was limited to just 133 at bats last year and only hit .233 in his debut.  His 23/29 walk to whiff ratio is a good sign for his ability to make contact, which should result in a significant increase in batting average.  His only problem is his best position third base is currently occupied by Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals are loaded with second basemen.  If he can bat over .300 in AA the Nationals will find room for him.  He was hitting much better in spring than what myworld saw from him in AA.

28. Julio Teheran RHP (Atlanta Braves) 7.02 - Myworld watched Julio toss six no hit innings today.  If myworld was ranking him he would be much higher after watching him start in four spring games, the last two of which he went 11 innings without giving up a hit and striking out 16.  He throws up to 94, but has better command of his pitches when he sits at 91.  He has the best change in the system and Julio threw a breaking ball that had Jose Altuve chasing.  If myworld was to project the rookie of the year for 2013 it would be Julio.  The Braves signed Julio out of Colombia in 2007.  Last year we saw him give up a number of homeruns in the spring.  That carried over into the season.  This year it has been all swings and misses.

27. Danny Hultzen LHP (Seattle Mariners) 7.08 - Danny was a first round pick out of Virginia in 2011, the second player selected in the draft.  He throws in the low 90s but can crank it up to the mid-90s.  He is part of a trio that includes Taijuan Walker and James Paxton that will combine with Felix Hernandez to give the Mariners a starting four that many teams will envy.  Danny is the first of the trio to reach AAA but with a 5.92 ERA he may need a bit more seasoning before he gets promoted to the show.

26. Carlos Martinez RHP (St. Louis Cardinals) 7.3 - Carlos has had a few identity issues after signing out of the Dominican Republic.  His first problem was after he signed with the Red Sox as Carlos Matias and it was determined he was not Carlos Matias.  He is currently stuck in Dominican Republic trying to resolve current visa issues, which could be tied to his inability to prove his age.  He stands only 6′0″ but he hums his fastball in the high 90s, clicking in the three digits.  He also has a hard breaking curveball and a change.  Many predict his small stature will restrict him to the bullpen, but to accomplish anything he will still have to resolve his current visa issues.

25. Mike Zunino C (Seattle Mariners) 7.32 - Mike was the third pick in 2012 out of Florida.  The Mariners plan on using Jesus Montero behind the plate in 2013 but Zunino is so advanced he could be ready by mid year.  He was promoted to AA in his first year where he hit .333 in 51 at bats.  He has all the tools to make it as a catcher defensively and he carries the power to hit in the middle of the lineup.  Once he has been allowed to mature in AAA he will take over the catching responsibilities for the Mariners.

24. Jonathan Singleton 1b (Houston Astros) 7.4 - Myworld has yet to see him this spring.  He will have to miss the first 50 games this year because he was caught for a drug of abuse.  This would have been a year he could have made an impression at first base for the major league team.  Now that has been delayed until 2014.  Jonathan was the key palyer acquired from the Phillies for Hunter Pence.  He has power but his defense at first base is not strong.  With the move to the American League Houston can now use a DH.

23. Francisco Lindor SS (Cleveland Indians) 7.5 - A first round 2011 pick born in Puerto Rico.  He is one of many young shortstops coming out of Puerto Rico, drafted one pick ahead of fellow Puerto Rican Javier Baez.  He left to play in the United States at the age of twelve.  He doesn’t hit for a lot of power but he has gold glove caliber defense.  He should hit for a high enough average to still be a useful bat in the lineup.  His speed is decent, allowing him to steal 27 bases, but he was caught 12 times.  The Indians have Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop and Dorssys Paulino playing a level below Lindor so there is no need to rush him, but there is also no room for struggle.

22. Archie Bradley RHP (Arizona Diamondbacks) 7.52 - Archie Bradley was a first round 2011 pick, selected a pick ahead of Lindor. On the top 100 list he falls a pick below Lindor.   Archie throws hard, hitting the mid-90s with his fastball that is considered the best in the Diamondbacks system. He has a nice swing and miss curveball with a developing change. His biggest issue is improving his command. He walked 84 last year in 136 innings, inflating his Low A ERA to 3.84. Once he improves his command he will rise quickly.

21. Carlos Correa SS (Houston Astros) 7.62 - Another Puerto Rican shortstop who was the first pick in the 2012 draft. Myworld was hoping he would at least make an appearance in the spring games, but his appearances have been limited to the minor league games. The nice thing is he is part of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and with their second place finish in the World Baseball Classic there could be many like him to follow. At 6′4″ he may eventually outgrow the position, but he will have the power to play third. The Astros will play him at short and let him prove he can not play the position. He should start the 2013 season playing full season ball.

Monkees Take Season Opener in Taiwan

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

The Lamigo Monkeys defeated the Uni-President Lions 10-8 in the China Professional Baseball League opener.  The crowd of 17,693 was the second largest Monkey crowd since the 18,000 plus that showed up for a 2004 opener.  Chin-feng Chen and Hong-yu Lin hit homeruns to lead the Monkey offense.  The-Long Yu drove in two runs with a double.

Mike Loree got the start for the Monkeys and lasted six plus innings to get the win.  Tsong-hsuan Tseng retired the last three hitters, two of them on whiffs to get the save.  Lamigo are the defending champions after defeating the Lions in five game in a best of seven last year.

You can read a narrative of the game here and see some cute cheerleaders dressed as baseballs: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/sport/archives/2013/03/24/2003557846

WBC Counter Hype

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

If you read the international baseball sites, they spin out the press releases from the World Baseball Classic Inc. which laud the success of the tournament. It is like being a Republican where your only source of news is Fox. You were certain Mitt Romney had the election sewn up. Reading the WBC press releases give you the fuzzy feeling the games were an astouding success, with attendance up and television ratings sky rocketing with viewership more than fifty percent in some countries. Everything was rosy and maybe that is the truth, but myworld still sees pimples that need to be cleared up.

Myworld has spent many a year spinning success stories. It is often what is not said that must be heard. Read between the lines and see what is not in print and you can identify the problems, the acne that can be hidden with a good application of makeup.

When you analyze the attendance for some of the Asian series the attendance for those games in which either Japan or Taiwan did not play was sparse. The stadium was almost empty for a match between Cuba and China. Cuba is a team with some of the more talented players in baseball. You wonder if the cost of electrictiy for turning on the lights in the stadium for that game cost more than what revenue was received from that day’s attendance. While the games for the local teams drew a large crowd, when the local team did not play the interest disappeared.

In the United States the fans attending the spring training baseball games appear to have no interest in discussing or watching the WBC. Myworld could not get anyone interested in debating about the games. The most popular response is that it was a waste of time, a nuisance that takes away the stars from their exhibition games. The two weeks in which their team has to play without Jimmy Rollins or Joey Votto is like having the flu. They tolerate their absence but know that after two weeks the players will return and real baseball will be whole again. Attendance at spring training was also down, but that may still be a reflection of the economy and the price of gas.

The interest in the United States could reflect the lack of hype major league baseball dished out prior to the games. If you follow the Japanese, Korean or Taiwan English papers the WBC is bigger than their exhibition games. Their teams get established almost two weeks before the games start and the papers are debating the roster. Players battle for the honor of playing for the team, not finding excuses not to play in the game. At least, those players not on major league rosters. Almost every Asian player on a major league roster chose not to play for their country.

The United States didn’t really get together until they had a couple exhibition games. There was no press from the local beat writers, or even the national writers on the roster of the team. Most of the news was still discussing the roster of the major league teams. Gio Gonzalez didn’t even join the United States team until it was his turn in the rotation to pitch. It was almost like he made a guest appearance. After his game it was back on the plane and back to Vierra where the Nationals play. What kind of team camaraderie is going to be built with a roster that rarely interacts with each other.

It is no wonder the United States does not do well in this tournament. While this year’s United States roster was filled with good character players who appeared to have the enthusiasm to win, they just didn’t have enough face time together to play as a unit. Teams generally need some time playing together before they get comfortable in the locker room. Until the United States does well in the tournament it will never be embraced by fans in the United States.

Attendance is also misleading. The important thing is revenue. If you look at the schedule for the Phillies exhibition games the WBC game price was cut in half. It is not like the Philles were playing a weak team. They were playing the eventual champions the Dominican Republic who ended up crushing them, even when the Phillies had started their best pitcher Cole Hamels. Revenue is not generated if tickets are given away or sold at a reduced cost, i.e. tickets for $5 if you provide a ticet stub for a spring training game.

The WBC website was also a bit disappointing. They need to do a better job of putting information on the site weeks before the games start to generate interest. Myworld rarely went to the site to get any kind of news on the games because there was rarely anthing there worth reporting. Even the preliminary rosters were very inaccurate. It was also obvious there was not a lot of research done on the historical information for each country playing in the tournament. It’s too late to be writing about the games once the tournament has started.

Now that the games are over myworld bets nothing is done to try to carry the momentum. Like the World Cup in soccer, the momentum is lost while people wait for four years for the event to be held again. At least the qualifying matches make that wait three years if you have interest in following those games. The WBC website will be absent of any international news. You will have to go to the IBAF website to find that.

The WBC also has to do a better job of making this appear more like an international event rather than a United States organized event. This involves getting more feedback from the IBAF and other countries on the organization of the tournament. Perception is everything.

In 2017 myworld hopes the United States has a roster with an outfield of Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton. The starting pitcher will be Stephen Strasburg, followed by Dylan Bundy, Gerrit Cole and Matt Harvey. The Japanese team will see a rotation of Yu Darvish followed by Shintaro Fujinami and Shohei Otani. The Cuban team will find a way to get Aroldis Chapman, Jorge Soler, Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes on the team and there will be debate about the games a year before they begin play. That is the kind of tournament myworld can get excited about.