Jorge Stay Home

Derek and A-Rod and Robi Cano have all been granted permission to take part in next year’s baseball world cup, the World Baseball Classic, but ESPN.com is reporting that the Yankees have put the kibbosh on Jorge Posada’s plans to suit up for Puerto Rico, citing concerns about extra wear-and-tear and the potential for injury to their prize backstop. Given the general career trajectory of catchers, Jorge’s declining production, and the fact that his backup is, um, Kelly Stinnett, this would seem to be a wise business decision by the pinstripe brass. But it’s still rather unfortunate. We’re big believers in international tournaments, and would love to see the broadest possible participation.

Speaking of international tournaments, we’ll go off topic here to bemoan the crappy seeding of Team USA in that other world cup, the one where guys chase a ball around for 90 minutes, often to no avail. (We kid!) The US is stuck in a bracket with 2 powers (the Czechs and Italians), though it is ranked 8 in the world by FIFA, and therefore, by my understanding, deserved some kind of easier road. Apparently Harold Pinter was on the seeding committee. Feh.

14 comments… add one
  • i think that it was mentioned that jason varitek had expressed interest in playing for the us team, too. the way his production dropped off in september of last year, the idea of tacking an extra month onto his season doesn’t sound like such a good one…

    rcolonna (sf) December 11, 2005, 10:58 pm
  • Please, YF, save us the soccer talk…

    mattymatty December 11, 2005, 11:29 pm
  • No, the US was ranked 9 in the pre-cup draw standings, so they get lumped in with everyone else. Only the top 8 get split apart. Everyone else goes in the same hat.

    SF December 12, 2005, 5:54 am
  • According to the NYT they were 8. Mexico (whom they beat in the region) and England (lower ranked) both got into that top 8 group, jumping over the US. End of soccer talk.

    YF December 12, 2005, 8:58 am
  • Not quite the end – I read last week in the Times that the US was ranked #9 – FIFA has some sort of weird BCS-y formula and the Yanks were on the outside. Obviously it’s unclear, but the draw-related evidence points strongly to the report of our being ranked #9 as the correct one.

    SF December 12, 2005, 9:09 am
  • From ESPN:
    (and now the footie talk can officially come to a close)
    “One team from each pot will be drawn into the eight groups in the first stage of the finals in Germany which run from June 9 to July 9.
    The seedings system looked at teams’ record in the 2002 and 1998 finals and their world ranking over the last three years.
    Under the seedings system Brazil have 64 points followed by England (51), Spain (50), Germany (48), Mexico (47), France (46), Argentina (44) and Italy (44). The USA had 43 points and Holland 38.
    Under the new seeding system, performances at the 2002 World Cup were given twice as much weight as at 1998, and the only surprise was that FIFA decided against using performances at the 1994 finals.”

    SF December 12, 2005, 9:11 am
  • Yeah, I think the seeding system boned the Netherlands even worse than the US. They’re currently ranked like #3 or something, and b/c of the critiera used by the WC, they weren’t even in the top 8 WC seeds. No big, really, b/c they and Argentina should advance out of their group. But as for the US, uh, like it matters? In a sport where we get our asses routinely kicked, maybe we should just focus on like winning a game before entertaining thoughts of the big booty.

    Spidey December 12, 2005, 11:35 am
  • I think the only way soccer would ever be interesting to me is if the winning team got to eat the losing team. Oh, and maybe if the players were allowed to use weapons.
    Otherwise it’s just a game for girls, or at least uptight whining Euro-peons who whine like girls whenever someone steps on their toe.

    Joe December 12, 2005, 12:35 pm
  • Right. Good handle on the most popular sport on planet Earth, Joe. Feel free to go back to watching NASCAR and playing GTA on your PSP. (Though I have to admit, the winners-eat-losers scenario does have a certain marketing appeal.)
    ps – YF, I thought Pinter’s address was pretty good, actually.

    Spidey December 12, 2005, 12:59 pm
  • hahahahaha. Nice, Spidey. How ’bout the Broncos this week – I’m starting to feel it.

    Brad-SF December 12, 2005, 1:53 pm
  • You don’t have to be a fan of American foreign policy to find virulent anti-Americanism dangerous.
    But returning to your previous point about US seeding in the World Cup, I would strongly disagree, and here I bring the issue home to baseball. One of the several good reasons our game is not played more popularly in Europe is because when it was introduced, Europeans felt they had little chance to compete against Americans, that the deck was stacked against them. (There were other reasons, but this was one.) This is the same case but in reverse. It’s basically a case of anti-afirmative action. By FIFA’s own standards, the US is the 8th ranked team in the world. By that reasoning, it should be accorded the status of the 8th ranked team. Instead, the system is set up to favor more traditional powers. If the US had the easier schedule in the cup—which it earned by its play—then it might be more successful in the cup. And success breeds success.

    YF December 12, 2005, 1:57 pm
  • Well, yeah, I’m not so sure why the seeding criteria includes results from 8 years ago, so you’re right there, YF, but it’s not just about boning the US, was my point. And actually, I don’t think we’re totally hapless as a squad; we might even get out of the group into the next round. Italy isn’t the Italy of old, soccer-wise, it looks like. It’ll be fun to see how it all shakes out.
    Re Pinter, well this is *definitely* not in tune with the mission statement of this blog, so I’ll keep it short, but his address, I felt, was more about the pursuit of truth and the problem of tolerating falsehoods in both art and politics than a straight-up criticism of US foreign policy. Sure, he’s angry, but a) it’s hard to refute the facts he cited, and b) it seemed he was aware of his anger and using his vitriol purposefully, I thought. The speech came full circle at the end and pretty neatly avoided devolving into straight-up lefty soapbox stuff. I don’t know. I thought his overall message was not dangerous, but optimistic, hopeful even.
    And Brad, umm, a 12-10 squeaker at home against the Ravens concerns me a bit. Don’tcha think? I know Billick has weirdly had Shanny’s number over the years, and a win’s a win, but I kinda want the Broncs to start building up a head of steam heading into the playoffs (presuming they get there, knock on wood). They’re gonna need some major mo if they’re gonna have to back to friggin’ Indy again… :)

    Spidey December 12, 2005, 10:14 pm
  • Y’know, all this soccer talk got me thinking about the World Baseball Classic, and has anyone checked out the list of players who’ve committed to playing for their respective countries (should they be picked)? The US has, as one would expect, plenty of stars to choose from (including Barry), but the Dominican lineup is truly nuts. Beltre, Vladdy, Manny, Papi, Pujols, Soriano, Miggy, Polanco and hell, throw Robi Cano in there, too. Petey and Colon heading up the staff. Crazy! Compare that to the Netherlands and poor Andruw Jones who’s gonna end up playing with guys who like sell tulips or repair windmills at their day jobs. Japan should be a fun team to watch with lots of guys who are seasoned vets/stars in the Japan leagues (along with Ichiro and the other MLBers like Tad Iguchi). Interestingly, at least according to the official WBC website, ARod has yet to declare an affiliation with any country. Draw your own conclusions.

    Spidey December 13, 2005, 8:51 pm
  • “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the Dominicanest of them all…”
    A-Rod needs advice, I am thinking.

    SF December 14, 2005, 6:41 am

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