Saturday, March 18, 2006

Cuba on a Roll

I think it's hilarious that Cuba has defeated Venezuela, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic and now is going to the finals of the WBC. One would figure Bud Selig is humiliated by the whole thing, with the major league players getting beaten by non-major leaguers, and from an unfriendly country to boot. And the fans in the US were even behind Cuba! The whole thing is just delicious. Good for them.


Anonymous Phil said...

Cuba never beat the US heads up. The big problem with their success is the dimwits in the media are going to start believing the Cuban league is some kind of major league and only the US and Castro governments are standing between the Cubans taking the majors by storm. The reality is much different. Clay Davenport of Baseball Prospectus, the world's foremost expert on league difficulty did some simulations based on his work for the WBC. He found the Cubans as having a 2.66% chance to win the tournament (ninth overall). Korea, a semifinalist, was eighth at just over 3%. What we're seeing is the folly of determining a "champion" based on eight games, it's simply not significant.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

It's already happening. Jayson Stark has wrote a utterly absurd column on ESPN calling the Cubans "major-league quality." You cannot determine ANYTHING in baseball based on eight games, heck not even one season is enough. Consider the Dodgers' 15-3 (or so) start last year and the Astros 15-30 start. And look where they ended up. Furthermore, Cuba's already lost twice, once by the slaughter rule. It's a Cuba-Japan final and both teams combined are 9-5. This whole thing is absurd, either do it right (more games, fewer teams [South Africa?!], middle/end of season, more quality players, etc.) or don't do it at all. Sorry for the lengthy rant.

10:32 PM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

Cuba and the United States never played in this years Classic. I on the other hand like the idea of the WBC. They are taking baseball out of the Olympics so this is a good way to see some world talent. I would slightly agree with phil when he says that this is not much of an indicator who is the best team but this is the ONLY way it can be done. Just like in the Olympics you've got to play good in a certain amount of games. Does Cuba have the best players?...No. But they have been playing together for a long time and they are probably the best TEAM in this tournament...and you shouldn't under estimate the power of team.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Phil said...

With all due respect, your comments are a bit off. Firstly, Cuba's national team is a very young one with around half the players in either their first or second international tournament. Secondly, they don't play together all the time, only for the World Cups and Olympics, or every other year. That's still more often than the US, DR and others but hardly often. Thirdly, while camaraderie and team unity matter, it can no way account for the disparity between talents here. Baseball is very much an individual sport in that it is a series of one pitcher-on-one hitter matchups. Cuba is nowhere near the top five teams in this tournament much less the top.

8:40 AM  
Blogger 17Haze said...

Phil: I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. But when you say that "Cuba is nowhere near the top five teams in this tournament much less the top"...thats just crazy. They are in the championship, so they are one of the two best teams in it.

The Chicago White Sox probably didn't have the most talent last year but you cannot take away that they were the best because they won the World Series.

To determine a true NCAA National Basketball Championship they should probably do a best of 7...but that wouldn't be nearly as exciting. Still the two teams playing for the title are maybe not the two most talented teams but they are the best teams.

I guess what I'm trying to say is in these types of tournaments, sometimes the most talented teams don't win. Its a short tournament that some major players aren't particpiating in. This tournament isn't so much for the United States but to promote baseball around the world. It has served its purpose...It has done what it was intended to do. I am a big American baseball fan but all I know is when Cuba goes back home they can say we were one of the two best baseball teams in the world in 2006..and nobody can take that away from them.

6:47 PM  

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