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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Case in Point

Friday, March 17, 2006

South Korea has exempted members of their national baseball team--the one that just defeated arch-rival Japan for the second consecutive time to advance to the semifinals of the inagural World Baseball Classic--from compulsory military service.

Like a number of coutries, South Korea requires young men to serve two years in the military. But now, the guys on the baseball team get a free pass.

Could there be a better illustration of the gap in the seriousness with which teams took the WBC. For the teams from Asia and Latin America, it was a chance to participate in a national accomplishment bigger than the individual players; for the United States, it was a marketing opportunity and a spring training warmup.

If they do this thing again in 2009, the North American teams need to do a much better job of preparing to play; they need to be in big-game shape from the very start. So they need to play in some high-competition international games during the months leading up to the tournament, maybe spend some time in Latin America and Asia for a few weeks playing against those teams. Or maybe there needs to be a round of qualifying games, like in the olympics (where the U.S. was eliminated last time around) and the World Cup.

But all of that depends on how important Major League Baseball thinks the WBC is, which depends on how successful it has been as an international marketing tool.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 5:49 AM

3 Comments:

Or at the very least, the U.S. should exempt its team from compulsory military service.
commented by Anonymous Brian, 6:31 AM  
So, Rocky: No comment on Japan's big win?

For what it's worth, you've convinced me: The WBC has some significance beyond being just a MLB money-maker and gimmick.
commented by Anonymous Brian, 12:08 PM  
Any bets on how much effort the U.S. puts into the next one, on a scale of 1 to 10 (one being the U.S. and 10 being everybody else)?
commented by Blogger Rocky, 2:25 PM  

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