There is no absolute strong, no absolute weak… Upward standardization of world baseball

While Korea was eliminated in the first round 스포츠토토 of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), the gap between strong and weak teams has narrowed in this tournament.

The semifinal match against Cuba was held at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on the 15th. Australia, ranked 10th in the world, lost 3-4 to Cuba (8th), which is full of major leaguers. Australia broke expectations in Group B and advanced to the quarterfinals by finishing second in Group B. In the match against Korea, which was considered to be at the top level, he won the victory thanks to the performance of his bat, who concentrated three home runs.

Initially, Australia was rated outside the top 10. The players participating in this tournament are 8 American professional baseball minor leaguers, and most of the rest are players from the Australian Professional Baseball (ABL). The annual salary of the entire team is around 300 million won this year.

On the 16th, the Dominican Republic, a three-time champion and a strong contender for the championship, was eliminated from Group D. In Group D, Venezuela took first place with 4 wins and Puerto Rico took 2nd place with 3 wins and 1 loss. The Dominican Republic, where there are many superstars playing in the major leagues, suffered the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round for the first time in 14 years since 2009.

In Group C, which includes the United States, another championship candidate, there were also surprises. Mexico ranked first in the group stage, and the United States narrowly advanced to the quarterfinals in second place. Not only that. The Czech Republic (Group B, 1 win, 3 losses) and England (Group C, 1 win, 3 losses), who advanced to the first round through regional qualifiers, won their first victory in the tournament finals, while Italy, considered the weakest, won 2 wins, 2 losses in Group A. Weak teams continued to advance, including reaching the quarterfinals. In particular, with the Czech Republic, where most of the players are ‘two jobs’, Japan’s ace Shohei Otani (LA Angels) drew attention by writing ‘Respect’ along with a picture of the Czech national team on his SNS account.

Countries where professional baseball leagues are active around the world are Korea, the United States, Japan, Taiwan, and some South American countries. When the Major League Secretariat created the WBC in 2006, it was expected that national competitions involving major leaguers would expand the base of baseball and reduce the power gap between countries. As expected, this year, 17 years after the start of the tournament, world baseball appears to be leveling upwards.

In world baseball where there is no absolute strong and the line between the strong and the weak has become blurred, Korea is in a situation where it has to take its first round defeat seriously. Amid the even development of world baseball, Korea’s ability has rather deteriorated. Now we have to admit the ‘lack’ of Korean baseball. We need to actively exchange with baseball powerhouses such as Japan and the United States. Above all, competitiveness on the international stage is directly related to the success of the domestic KBO League.

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