Potential U.S.-Japan World Series May Beckon 'Fundamental Change' To MLB
Major League Baseball is "beginning to explore an event that Commissioner Bud Selig calls 'a real World Series' that would pit the MLB champion against Japan's champion in a best-of-seven-game event on two continents," according to Phil Rogers of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. A Japan-U.S. World Series "looks like a financial windfall for MLB." It could "bring about some fundamental change to the sport -- possibly even a return to a 154-game regular season -- and serve as a home run for whoever replaces Selig as commissioner." It could "even shape who is the next commissioner, strengthening the hand" of MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan, who has overseen MLB's int'l growth. The World Baseball Classic is "practically a national holiday in Japan." The MLBPA on Friday "issued a press release that showed the Japan-Brazil game on March 2 drew a 35 share on Japanese television, meaning more than one of every three viewers was watching." That "topped all broadcasts of the 2012 London Olympics, and Japan is an Olympics-loving country." Selig said, "Someday you will get the United States versus Japan, a real World Series. It's a long way off, but yes, I really believe it. That's the final goal" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/10). Selig said, "The thought of having a real World Series, and the interest in the world, is breathtaking to me." He said that the "notion of starting a regular season in Europe no longer seemed far-fetched." In N.Y., Tyler Kepner noted Selig had "only a vague vision of the so-called real World Series and said he probably would not live to see it." But he said that the WBC is "the essential vehicle for wherever the game is going." Selig "stopped short of pushing for mandatory participation," but something "seems imperfect when so many American stars decline to participate" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/10).