Valentine upset about Japan trip timing

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.

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