Thursday, March 20, 2008
Valentine upset about Japan trip timingPosted by Bryan Tsao
The former MLB manager feels that the trip will detract from the opening of the Japanese league seasons.
This a a pretty reasonable stance, methinks, and somewhat parallels a situation the Major League Soccer faces in the US: whether to sell its top players to more prominent European leagues or keep them here to grow the league's brand. As in that case, it's a delicate balance, as increased interest in MLB would probably translate into more interest in baseball in general; it's a "the pie is getting bigger" type situation. That said, no one wants their domestic league to become a feeder league (MLS wishes it was a feeder league, at this point).
Valentine's suggestion of a playoff series between the Japan Series and World Series (talk about a misnomer now, eh?) is an interesting one and I don't see much it could hurt. You don't have to trot out all your stars for it, just play it as a semi-exhibition. I hate to keep going to this well, but there is actually a tournament in soccer that pits champions of each of the continental confederations (ie. Champions League aka European champions, etc.) against each other. Teams play it, but it's not a priority for them so often they don't start their true best eleven.
Bryan Tsao is the editor of The Hardball Times website. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions for both himself and the site via email.