Of the many things changed under Bud Selig’s watch as commissioner of Major League Baseball, the World Baseball Classic may end up being the most impactful. Selig, though, hopes to see international competition expanded, even such that the World Series is finally true to its name. Via J.J. Cooper of Baseball America:
“What is the final goal long after I’m gone? The thought of having a real world Series and the interest in the world I can’t even imagine,” Selig said. “Yes it has economic potential that is huge, but from a sociological standpoint that is greater.”
To further explain, Selig elaborated. “Someday you get the United States vs. Japan as an example.”
Selig went on to say that, if done right, “you won’t recognize the sport in a decade.”
Major League Baseball has moved glacially slow on most of its own issues, such as dealing with performance-enhancing drug use and implementing instant replay, but has worked swiftly in addressing specific issues like adding a one-game Wild Card playoff and evening out the American and National Leagues team-wise. So it remains to be seen if this is an achievable goal for Selig and his successors, as it is highly dependent on the time, money, and man power devoted to the project. A truly international game would be quite interesting, though.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.