Wednesday, March 1, 2017
2017 World Baseball Classic: Economy needs four specific teams in Championship Round
The 2017 World Baseball Classic will take place and begin on March 6. For the championship round (final four), it will be in Dodger Stadium.
Unfortunately, this 2017 edition of the WBC could be the final one in history, as rumored by the media. There's plenty of factors as to why the WBC could be gone. Some feel that its rather pointless, similar to how the World Cup of Hockey took place last summer before the NHL season.
In general, there is apathy towards the WBC in the United States of America. Sure, it's easy for parts of the world to pay attention. Japan will obviously have followers no matter who is playing while South Korea also has interest.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said he hopes to keep the WBC going, but it will also be up to the MLB Player's Association in order for that to happen.
One of the big hits towards this tournament is the injury of Shohei Otani as he recovers from hurting his ankle. Otani would have drawn a following knowing that he has MLB potential and could have showcased himself to the world in the tournament.
Crowds are going to be sparse minus when Samurai Japan is playing at home in Tokyo Dome. However, the attendance for the final in Dodger Stadium as well as the ratings on television should factor as to whether the WBC goes beyond 2017.
With all due respect to the 12 other teams participating in this tournament, only four specific teams making the final four at the same time would be the best case scenario for the economy and future of this event. Here are the four teams who need to make the Championship Round in Dodger Stadium in order to create a case of having the WBC for the long run:
Japan's team would obviously help the economy given the talent and intrigue that the roster brings. there is no Otani, but the given their history in the WBC of two championships and one other championship round appearance, they will easily draw a crowd in Los Angeles and bring a unique perspective to baseball with their players.
On paper, Japan is likely to make it to the Championship round. It's no cupcake run, but the talent they have combined with the competition in the rest of the field should be enough.
There are plenty of those with Korean descent residing in Southern California. KBO is also the second largest league in Asia, which could give another market to a country that likes baseball. In 2009, Korea faced Japan in the finals in front of 54,000 at Dodger Stadium. It wouldn't hurt if they make a run and recreate a final from eight years ago.
Korea's team has plenty of good talent, but not great or elite level players compared to years in the past. They will likely advance out of Group A into the second round, but it's anyone's guess as to whether they can make it to Los Angeles where they aren't favored.
The ratings would rocket if the USA made a run like in 2009 to the Championship round. Attendance will likely be minimal throughout the first two rounds, but people would start watching if the team was winning. As earlier said, the pride is rather apathetic towards this event. Several players are more concerned about the 2017 regular season and possibly postseason if they're on a contending team that they won't be participating.
By even making the semi-finals, it would at least draw some casual followers rather than almost no one. U.S.A. has an uphill battle, but the talent is on the roster in order to make this possible.
Despite all of the talent on the Dominican Republic, the economy needs Mexico to surprise the world and make the championship round. While soccer is the more dominant sport in the country, Mexico can draw more of a crowd in San Diego and Los Angeles than any other team from Group C and Group D. If supporters can pack the Rose Bowl or Levi's Stadium, they would at least have a presence for baseball compared to others.
Mexico is in the group of death and it's unlikely they make it past the second round. However, games are not played on paper and it would be a perfect scenario if Adrian Gonzalez and others can carry the team to an improbable run.
It's not a coincidence the four host teams for the opening round are who need to be there in the Championship Round. This is an underlying way of telling everyone that the committee wants these four countries in the Final Four.
When the Championship round was in San Francisco for 2013, only 35,000+ showed up for the final. Attendance was not what it could've been had other teams been there. Japan had a disappointing semi-finals loss to Puerto Rico while the Dominican Republic won the whole thing as the favorites.
A Championship Round with Mexico, U.S.A., Japan and South Korea would be the best-case scenario for the economy and the future of this tournament. If this doesn't happen, we will likely see a smaller attendance and TV ratings compared to what it could be with these four countries.
Cuba has an interesting intrigue with how mysterious the group of players are while Venezuela and the Dominican Republic are more talented, but they won't draw the ratings or tickets that the other four will.
Group A Analysis
Group B Analysis
Group C Analysis
Group D Analysis
Samurai Japan roster Analysis
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Posted by Christian Gin at 1:13 PM