This is an archive site only. It is no longer maintained. You can not post comments. You can not make an account. Your email will not be read. Please read this page if you have questions.
As I write, the final match in the World Series is about to begin.
The Series is among the greatest of American traditions. It was originally designed as a contest between the American League and the National League, two baseball leagues which were very separate and different from each other. They played different schedules and had different cultures, until they were united under the great aegis of Major League Baseball and could compete in the World Series.
Unfortunately, the Series is no longer the gut-rippingly awesome competition it once was. It sucks, and it's dragging the sport of baseball along with it. Hence, it should be scrapped.
Read below for a few reasons why.
First of all, the World Series isn't. It caps a season of competitions between a small, state-subsidized cabal of professional baseball players. In these times, the majority of these players are scouted out from the best schools and ballparks around the world and induced to travel to America.
Foreign men of professional caliber -- men who would enrich baseball in their hometowns and fatherlands -- are induced to come to the United States and spend years on a farm team making crap wages in order to fulfill their dream of competing in the World Series.
This is bad for the global development of baseball as a sport. Consider this: Even in countries where baseball is well loved, such as Cuba and Japan, players risk their careers and, in the case of some Cubans, their lives in order to play American ball. The biggest stars of the national game come to the States, drawing national fans away from their own teams and towards the U.S. game. In Japan, for example, hometown games' TV ratings have dropped, while the viewership of Seattle Mariners games, beamed across Japan via satellite, has skyrocketed. This was brought on by the 'defection' of star right-fielder Ichiro Suzuki to the Mariners.
Expanding the scope of Major League Baseball play to foreign teams (and, no, I don't mean the Montreal Expos) would remedy this problem; any player in a world-class team could stay in his own country and compete with the American teams. Unfortunately, this strategy does not reflect the true purpose of Major League Baseball, namely the sale of broadcast advertising. For example, a game against a Havana, Cuba team would be an exciting, poetic match of classic baseball. But the socialist economic model in Cuba would not likely allow the sale of stadium space or broadcast time to advertisers. Expanding America's baseball league into the Caribbean, Latin America, and Southeast Asia would present similar cultural and economic problems.
Another alternative would be to change the Series' name. Call it the National Championship and promote a biennial world competition in baseball. When considering such a competition, though, the question of money rears its head. FIFA, the international governing body for football (known as "soccer" in the U.S.), donates money to countries where football is developing in order to fulfill its mandate of improving the sport. Would an international baseball association simply include countries where baseball prospers, or would it undertake a mission similar to FIFA's?
It may be true that the aforementioned is pure globalist bullshit. That said, there are some entirely domestic problems with the World Series.
Once a year, a city gets the World Series. Lots of rich people and businesses come to town. Stadia and surrounding neighborhoods are spruced up; area restaurants are flush with high-rolling baseball fans and prominent sportscasters. Money rolls into town.
Unfortunately, the Yankees' New York has gotten this windfall too many times.
Seen from a financial perspective, the fact that you can tell what teams are going to make the playoffs 3 weeks into the season isn't just a drag, it's a crime. Major League Baseball, a private corporation subsidized by the U.S. Government, is giving a few (already rich) cities a bucks bonanza every year. By replacing the World Series with a traveling lineup of exposition games, the baseball establishment would spread this wealth around a bit.
If there must be an End of Year Game which causes millions to converge on a city, it should be decided differently, taking the social implications of the game into account. For this, the International Olympic Committee is a good model. The IOC is a global group, designed to represent the interests of all the countries that participate in the Olympics. The committee takes a lot into account when it decides where to host an Olympics. It tries to choose a city that needs the billions of development money that the Olympics will bring.
Couldn't an International Baseball Committee decide where the pennant winners would play? Utica, New York needs the influx of cash that a World Series would bring more than New York does. So does Albequerque. So does Toledo, Ohio. So does San Juan, Puerto Rico. The tired and grubby citizens of these towns would value the diversion of the game far more than the jaded, hedonistic New York.