Many of you are no doubt glued to your TV screens right now, watching Spain playing against the Netherlands in the World Cup match from Brazil. You can also check in at the official FIFA website for up to the minute scores (I just checked and the score was 1-0 at this moment in favor of Spain). Meanwhile, I cannot even speak to my daughter (a huge soccer fan) who is glued to her iPad watching passionately as she keeps saying, “Piqué!”
Obviously, singer Shakira is not the only one enamored with the Spanish footballer. I purposely used the word “footballer” and not soccer player because we Americans are the only ones in the world who do not recognize the game by its real name. Of course, we have the National Football League to thank for that one, but the rest of the planet knows the truth. Besides the handsome Piqué, there are plenty of matinee idol type players to be found on the 32 teams involved in the tournament, but most of us are tuning in to see great action on the pitch.
Each of the 32 teams (broken down into eight groups of four teams) will play three games during the “group stage.” Wins will earn a team three points and a tie one point. After the group stage, two teams will then be selected from each group to go into the next phase, the second or “knockout stage” ; if a team loses a game it is over. After this we have the quarter-finals, semi-finals, third-place match, and the final game. It’s a long, exciting schedule that promises fans weeks of great matches with the end result providing a “world” champion.
Looking at the process I thought about a wonderful possibility – why not look at a way to do this same kind of thing in Major League Baseball? Many MLB fans may be content with our current “World” Series, but I think if you look at it honestly, we know there are truly great teams playing baseball all over the world but we never get to see these teams and the players. If we can have a World Cup for soccer/football, there is no reason why we cannot have a “real” World Series for baseball.
I imagine that the set-up would be very similar to the World Cup. A host country would have to be established (I am thinking for the first ever true World Series that it should be a country other than the United States). Once that is established, teams would have to “qualify” based on some kind of rubric that involved perhaps wins and losses, team ERA and batting, and so on. To determine which team represented each country should be an equitable process for all nations involved.
As a New York Mets fan, I have no illusions that the Mets would represent America, but perhaps then there could be a compiled team to do that (sort of a team of All Stars). This would have to be determined, or we could just let our current playoff schedule stay in place and the team that wins the “American World Series” would then head off to Japan or Taiwan or Australia for the true World Series.
I really like the idea of a baseball World Series that features players from all over the world. It would be amazing to watch this, to see the skill level of stars from other countries, and to build a new event that could not only reinvigorate the sport but also be a source of good will and cooperation. Wouldn’t it be nice to see North Korea playing on the field against Japan instead of them fighting in a real battle?
For now we can enjoy watching the World Cup and wonder what it would be like for baseball. Maybe someday we can extend the idea to American football, but a Super Bowl for the world may have to come up with a term other than “football” in order for it to be successful. What about the Gridiron Super Bowl or the Pigskin Super Bowl? Hmmm. Will have to think about that one for a while.
Photo credits: pique-fifazine.com, Wikipedia, metro.co.uk
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