Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Media Events & Other Briefs

By now readers of this space know I am no fan of Barry Bonds.

His alleged use of steroids has become a lightening rod for much that ails baseball, all the more so as he approaches the game’s most hallowed individual record.

So, it was more than surprising to see Mr. Bonds participating yesterday in a little American Idol skit especially given his prickly relationship to anything remotely smacking of made-for-television or the media.

But the greater surprise was to see Bonds supplemented body, or at least portions of it, pouring out of the strapless get-up he donned for the occasion. The guy looked out-of-shape, indeed fat.

If anything prevents Bonds from breaking the record, it will likely be the breakdown of that body.

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Robinson Tejeda has dropped out of the WBC. Slated as an alternate for the Dominican team, Tejeda decided he would be better off concentrating on making the Phillies roster. This was a good decision. If Tejeda can overcome shoulder problems and wildness, he has a chance to be a very good pitcher.

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Speaking of the WBC, tell me again exactly why it is even taking place, or, more to the point, why MLB is so enamored of it?

I assume the executives at MLB love the idea of additional TV revenue, but I cannot imagine too many homes will be tuned into the preliminary rounds, especially those with a Far East dateline and starting time.

Many owners, notably King George, are on record every chance they get to disparage these games and make clear they don’t want their players participating. Nonetheless, some stars including a few from the Yankees, will be playing.

So, what is it Bud Selig and friends like about the WBC? Are they testing the waters for overseas expansion? Are they trying whip up nationalist spirit? Do they want the Olympic committee to restore baseball to the Summer Games? Help me on this one.


pat said...

i believe they couldnt care less if this tournament is a success in the U.S. or not. this is about worldwide expansion. they're trying to get countries like italy to be more interested in baseball and get to know our players. what better way to do that than to have mike piazza on the italian team and have that team play against the best major leaguers available? im ok with the idea of this tourney, just not the timing. November seems to be much more workable.

Tom Goodman said...

Just read that Billy Wagner and CC Sabathia have withdrawn from the U.S. team to be replaced by Gary Majewski and...are you ready...Al Leiter. Wow, that should throw a scare into the opposition. Give some credit for candor to Sabathia, who said he just wasn't ready yet to pitch competitively. Wagner problably withdrew because there was no guarantee any Phillies fans would be present and he really loves to pitch in front of them.

Oisín/Wizlah said...

Tom I disagree about RT being a good pitcher. I hope he can remain effective for a year or two for us, but if he has another good season, I think we should look at trading him. I just don't believe his control problems with balls are ever going to go away. But one more effective year, and the combination of his moxie and a good line for a year should maybe lead to a decent trade for us.

George S said...

If MLB wants to expand overseas, then they should follow the example of the NFL and set up a separate league in Europe, or Asia. Do not attempt to create major league franchises there. These overseas leagues promote the game, and act as developmental leagues for players in those regions of the world that can perhaps someday move on to play in the US major leagues (or Japan, etc).

I think it's shameful that Selig had a US Major League baseball team have their season home opener in Japan. MLB, the NBA and the NFL should not be playing actual league games in foreign locations. It accomplishes absolutely nothing that couldn't be accomplished with exhibition games.

As for the WBC, it's meaningless. If you really feel it's necessary to have some kind of artificially constructed global tournament (Italy?), then shorten the major league season by a week or two and have the tournament during the all-star break.