Expanding MLB worldwide Expanding MLB worldwide would only benefit the sport

Bill Milligan

Bill Milligan

By BILL MILLIGAN

I don’t know what they’re calling this baseball tournament that features some of the best players from nations around the world, but I’m watching.

Why not? It’s baseball. If I didn’t want to watch baseball on television, I probably wouldn’t own a TV set.

So when I found out China was playing Korea on channel whatever I got up to find the station switcher. I got to watch Korea play China at a stadium in Tokyo. It was heaven.

I recognized the voices of the announcers from live coverage of Major League Baseball. They really didn’t add any more to this game than they do to American baseball coverage so I got up and put on some tunes.

I watched a few more games before I got to see Japan play Korea — live at 3 a.m.

It was worth staying awake. Anyone who got to see the sixth game of the 1975 World Series knows what I mean.The Korea-Japan game had the same drama, the same plot twists.

Just like that night in 1975 when church bells rang all over New England around 1 a.m., that game in Tokyo had everyone on the edge of their seats. Just like that game in 1975 the decision turned in the last at bat. Just like that game in 1975 a walk-off home run decided the outcome.

The only difference was a team from Korea rejoiced instead of one from Boston.

More than 30 players in Major League Baseball were born in Asia.

That number is dwarfed by the number of players from Central and South America. Americans are fast becoming a minority in baseball.

Every neighborhood youngster in America used to have access to a vacant lot where they could play sandlot baseball.

Today developers crowd houses into every square inch of property and kids have to join leagues to play ball.

The impromptu sandlot games that developed talent from Candy Cummings to Pete Rose are impossible in America today.

It isn’t that Americans are any less talented. Baseball is the most democratic sport ever devised. The best-prepared team always wins.

Watching the world baseball tournament, or whatever they’re calling it, proves one thing — there needs to be additional leagues in Central America and around the Pacific Rim.

Those leagues need to play each other to determine who will face off against the American or National League champs to determine a true World Series champion.