BOB: Japan boycotts

Japanese players vote to boycott WBC

Next March is the third installment of the World Baseball Classic, and one of the teams that’s made the best showing at the previous two might not even be in the mix. The Japanese Players Association voted not to participate, and the Japanese team was the winner of the only two World Baseball Classics in 2006 and 2009. As usual, the decision was about money. The union asked for a larger cut of tournament revenue, merchandising and sponsorship, and that request was turned down.

This throws a major wrench in the WBC next year if the Japanese players hold their ground. It would also be interesting to see if Japan still tries to field a team in some capacity if the union won’t play ball. There might be enough Japanese MLB players to fill out part of a team, and organizers potentially could round it out with amateur players, but it would be interesting to see if Japanese MLB players would try to circumvent their home-country counterparts.

Competitive Draft Lottery announced

The Competitive Draft Lottery was part of the new collective bargaining agreement, and it’s going to make the 2013 draft a little more interesting for some teams. The lottery gives clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the chance to pick up extra draft picks, and their chances of getting a higher draft pick depend on how well each team did in the prior year. What’s also interesting is that under some circumstances the draft picks can be assigned (traded) by a club, and this happened for the first time earlier this week.

You can check out the draft order by clicking through to the MLB press release, but the teams with the 10 lowest revenues and the 10 smallest markets are entered into the lottery. The first six teams picked get a pick between the first and second rounds, and then the next six teams picked get a choice between the second and third round. When the Detroit Tigers sent Jacob Turner and a couple of other prospects to the Miami Marlins for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante, they also swapped their picks from this lottery.

Louise Nippert passes at 100

Louise Nippert, who along with her husband owned at least a portion of the Cincinnati Reds for the longest time of anyone ever, passed away at 100 earlier this week. The Nipperts bought into the club in 1966, became majority owners in 1973, then sold their majority ownership stake in 1981, but they continued to hold a minority interest. Nippert was heavily involved in Cincinnati’s orchestra and was also a sponsor of the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music.

Philllies extend PDC with Triple-A affiliate

The Philadelphia Phillies extended their Player Development Contract with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for another four years. The four-year extension will take their affiliation through 2016. The IronPigs haven’t been around too long, as they opened for business back in 2008. The team has drawn 2,914,177 fans since 2008 (as of the announcement), and they’ve led Minor League Baseball in attendance in each of the last three years.

Bradenton approves McKechnie Field renovations

The city of Bradenton, Fla. recently approved a $7.5 million upgrade of McKechnie Field, the home of the Bradenton Marauders, a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate, and the spring training home of said Pirates. The capacity of the ballpark is going to be increased from 6,500 to 8,500 and concessions, restrooms and a specialty bar are going to be added to a new boardwalk in center field. The park also will get permanent roofs, and the bullpens will be moved to the outfield. Most of the work will be done once the Marauders’ season is finished in September.

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I’d be shocked if the players fail to cave. I’ve lived here in Japan for almost 20 years and strikes just don’t happen. Too much pressure on conforming and obeying the company line. A strikeIt would probably be a good thing fRefusing to play, however, might strenghten the weak union here.


Of course, that last line should read: Refusing to play, however, might strengthen the union here. My editor is on vacation.