On the one hand, you've got your World Baseball Classic. Haven't heard of it? Don't care? You're in good company. Top Major League Baseball players and their agents don't want to risk their gazillion-dollar careers by participating in it, and MLB owners concur. It's this weird sideshow, held in the middle of spring training, featuring the best ballplayers in Japan, Cuba, Venezuela and, er, the Netherlands, facing off against the USA's own Eric Hosmer and Giancarlo Stanton, among other household names.
Knowing Bud Selig as I do - the kind of guy who pulls the plug on an All Star Game before it has finished, embraces scheduling and playoff formats that kill pennant races, and tinkers with this national treasure in various other gimmicky, ruinous ways - this could only have happened under his watch. It's the designated hitter of World Cups.
But now comes word that Bud Selig, Visionary, sees "a true World Series" in the near future that would pit the American champion against the Japanese champion. This is actually a great idea, one that was championed by Bobby Valentine, who in 2005 wanted his Chiba Lotte Marines to get a shot at the Chicago White Sox.
The only real sticking point is semantic; you'd expect a "World Series" to pit the top teams of four or eight or 16 countries, as soccer's World Cup does with the world's top 32 national teams. Alas, while baseball-mad Latin America is essentially a minor league for MLB - the Mexican League is actually a AAA league under MLB - Japan stands alone. Japan is number-one worldwide in baseball enthusiasm, and only Japan has produced a robust professional league to rival MLB, and in its April-to-October time slot to boot. Japan even produced the all-time home run king (pre-steroid-era). "World Series" it is.
Where would that leave what we now call the World Series? American World Series? World Series Classic? (Confusing.) America's Cup? (Taken.) Could there be anything worse than "The Beef O'Brady World Series"?
Yes. "The Bud Selig World Series." You heard it here first. With any luck, I'll be dead by then.