English cricket fans — the unsophisticated variety who don’t have time for baseball, a game they view as glorified rounders — love to pull out the old chestnut about how the American domestic baseball competition is a pompous misnomer: The “World Series.” Fair enough.
So why not have a proper World Cup?
Major League Baseball International is moving ahead with plans for an inaugural World Cup to take place as early as 2005. The field would consist of teams from eight to 16 countries (including the commonwealth of Puerto Rico) and would be played over a two-week stretch, most likely during spring training and in stadiums across the U.S. Over the past two years MLB International has talked with leagues in six countries, which were all receptive to the idea.
n addition to a World Cup, MLB International is pursuing a number of other global initiatives. Baseball is hoping to start the 2004 season in Japan, and also in the works are regular-season series in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. In addition regular-season games in Europe are being discussed for as soon as 2004. “Baseball is an international game,” says [Major League Baseball’s president and COO Bob] DuPuy, “and we still have a lot we can do to embrace that.” </blockquote>
It’s about time! Also, the plans for the games in Europe next year seem to be gathering speed. Major League Baseball’s “field consultant” recently inspected Rome’s Olympic Stadium, home of AS Roma and Lazio as a possible venue.