The AP is reporting that Major League Baseball and the player's union are in negociations about staging a World Cup of Baseball before the start of the 2005 regular season. This is welcome news, especially since MLB isn't willing to stop their season for two weeks to allow players to play in the Olympics. Baseball might be the second best sport in the world, behind soccer, for a World Cup-style competition, with eight or so national teams facing off. Imagine the interest in the game if you got to a final featuring a U.S. national team facing off against a Dominican team, for example. Pedro Martinez, Sammy Sosa, and Albert Pujols taking on Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Jim Thome.
MLB is, without a doubt, the most frustrating entity in all of sports. They do so many things wrong as they bumble from crisis to crisis without any hint of a plan to market the game and expand its audience. And repeatedly, the game itself saves them. Think of this year's postseason, where a month of phenomenal baseball lead to the best ratings in years. A World Cup could be a huge boon, not only here in the U.S., but around the world. Let's hope they can make it happen.