Friday, January 30, 2009

MLB under attack

From Marvin Moore, Chief Writer for Baseball de World, comes an interesting opinion piece.

It seems that major league players are not tough, care too much about money, and aren't willing to represent their country. Whichever country it is they might choose on that particular day. So Mr Moore wants to know what the problem is:

What has happened to major league baseball players? Are pitchers so frail these days they cannot prepare for the upcoming season with limited work in a pre-season tournament that is good for the sport worldwide? Satchel Paige, Fergie Jenkins and Nolan Ryan all could have pitched in the WBC and contended for a Cy Young Award.
Yeah, but those guys are retired. Even though Nolan could probably still lead the Rangers staff in strikeouts. Because today's pitchers are soft:

Perhaps the biggest reason injuries have become such a staple of the game today is that too many players are “too” soft. With the advances of exercise equipment, sports nutrition and personal fitness trainers - luxuries not associated with players from the past - a large number of MLB so-called stars would still struggle in a brawl with a group of ice skaters.
There's more:

Another problem with the super-sized ego ballplayers of today is that they are driven by money - not a love or passion for the game. Playing hurt these days means risking a future contract. Heck, a great deal of these guys do not even become serious” ballplayers until the final year of a contract.
But it's not just the player's fault:

The wealthy franchise owners destroyed the integrity of the game by turning a blind eye to the rampant performance-enhancing drugs during the recent Steroid-era. And, sadly, the majority of players who have parlayed their skills on the diamond into big mansions and fancy cars do not give a damn about the game or the fans.
I kind of disagree with this assessment. I'm as patriotic as most people and would love to see the US win. And as a baseball fan, I want to see the best play. But the regular season is their job and they do get paid a lot of money to represent a city which provides them a privileged lifestyle. So they do have an obligation, and no compelling reason to play. But to each his own. The problem I have with this opinion is that he then goes off on a tangent:

The majority of governments around the world only provide funds for Olympic sports. Baseball is already underfunded in most European nations but continues to grow anyway with clubs and federations working overtime to get new fields built and recruiting young players. But the fairy tale ending has become a nightmare.

If the IOC threw out baseball from the Olympics due to its history of steroids use - why is track and field still part of the Summer Games? And, why does that Belgium guy and his cronies demand that the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) send MLB’s arrogant studs when FIFA and its powerful soccer clubs send only a few prospects to the Olympics?
Good points all. And I actually agree with him. But then he ends it with this statement:

The game is under attack and it seems like MLB and its superstars are leaving the IBAF to fight the battle alone.
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with that statement either. I've written about this myself. But exactly what is the point? Who is he attacking? The IOC? FIFA? Track and field? The players? The owners? Bud? (don't try and get on my good side) I'm a little confused. Instead of attacking Bud and his boys, shouldn't his anger be directed at the national IOC's that won't promote baseball? Or the government's that won't fund baseball federations when they support other sports?

Or is the Chief Writer for Baseball de World just against major league baseball? And for the IBF? Is he condemning one to champion the other? And why? Who cares?

The WBC, or the Olympics, is the biggest stage in the world for international baseball, but not for major league baseball. While I think Bud and the boys should be doing more to help international baseball, there is no reason for them to do so at the detriment of their own product. But attacking MLB, the main sponsor of the WBC, just doesn't seem to be the best way to go about things.

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