Mexico was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic due to math and a tiebreaker. Mexico won its final game, against Venezuela, but it had a worse runs scored per defensive inning by virtue of losing in a walkoff to Italy a couple of days before. Even if they had still lost the game to Italy but had recorded an out in the final inning, they would’ve advanced because, with an out, there would’ve been a value in the denominator of the tiebreaking ratio.
Yes, Mexico could’ve advanced if it had, you know, won the game or not given up all of those runs, but it’s a pretty dumb tiebreaker rule if it comes down to mathematics that do not really reflect how baseball games are played. Even now, a few days later, confusion reigns over the tiebreaker procedure and Team Mexico continues to fume over the outcome. Or at least first baseman Adrian Gonzalez does:
Given that Gonzalez will be 38 the next time the WBC comes around there’s a good chance he wouldn’t be involved anyway, but this is not the kind of endorsement Major League Baseball and the WBC would like from Mexico’s highest-profile player. Especially one who is widely considered a leader and role model of other players.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.