Sportress of Blogitude

Joe Girardi offers novel suggestion on how to improve WBC

New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, like many of his managerial colleagues, view the World Baseball Classic with a degree of skepticism and some concern. It’s hardly a surprising stance given the WBC inhibits the ability of players competing in it to get in key spring training work.

Despite rules set in place to help alleviate some concerns, most major league teams watch from afar with bated breath, hoping their players — especially pitchers — avoid injury due to overuse so early on in their preparations for the season.

In light of those concerns, Girardi has suggested a novel approach to improving the WBC and believes it’s an easy way to improve the tournament: Start the WBC one week later and then schedule the subsequent semifinal and final rounds during an extended All-Star Break.

“What I’ve always hoped was this would be the first round this week, the next round would be next week,” Girardi said, via “Play three less games during the course of the season or you start the season three days earlier.

“Play (the semifinals and finals) in one city that has two ballparks. … Play (the semifinals) Tuesday of the All-Star break, the finals Wednesday, workout day is Thursday for the All-Star game, the (All-Star Game) is on Friday. You have Saturday and Sunday off. You (re-)start the season again on Monday.”

Starting the WBC one week later certainly would help both starters and relievers build up additional arm strength in spring training. arguably reducing the need to set strict limits to their availability in the tournament. And delaying the final rounds to an extended All-Star Break is an intriguing concept as well.

It’s an interesting take, but would Major League Baseball ever accept such a setup? Hard to say. Still, Girardi deserves credit for at least coming up with an alternative.

“Obviously there’s value to the WBC,” Girardi said. “They’re sold out in Miami (for this week’s games). There’s excitement. It’s on TV. They’re value to it. Can we make it work? There would be a lot of value to it in the summer.”