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Category: Sports

Make the World Baseball Classic More Meaningful

Dan Schlossberg shares an excellent idea in the Here’s the Pitch Substack to make the World Baseball Classic more meaningful: move it to after the World Series.

Doing so would allow starting pitchers to be closer to full capacity, not interfere with spring training, and fill the gap in the month of November before the winter meetings start in December.

As Schlossberg notes, Major League Baseball is sending a barnstorming team to South Korea this November to raise awareness of the game. It should learn something from that experience.

Happy Anniversary to the Sandberg Game

Today is the 38th anniversary of the game that cemented Ryne Sandberg as my favorite baseball player. On NBC’s Game of the Week (when that mattered) against arch-rival St. Louis, Sandberg hit game-tying home runs in the ninth and tenth innings to help the Cubs come back from a 9-3 deficit to win 12-11 in 11 innings.

Sandberg finished the game 5-6 with two home runs and seven RBI. He earned the National League MVP that year, leading the Cubs to their first post-season appearance since 1945. It still brings me chills thinking about it.

Major League Baseball put together a highlights package focusing on Sandberg’s two late-inning home runs.

The Marquee Sports Network also produced a great documentary about the game a couple of years ago:

Until the 2016 season, this game was the most important in my time as a fan of baseball. Watching the Cubs win a World Series added a few games to that list. But for as long as I think about baseball, I’ll remember how happy I was watching the Sandberg game make #23 a national star.

Ukraine Prepares for World Cup Qualifiers

Grant Wahl interviews the Guardian’s Nick Ames to discuss the Ukrainian Men’s National Soccer Team’s preparations for Wednesday’s World Cup playoff against Scotland.

As you can imagine, preparations have been difficult since Russia’s invasion in February. Ames has been following the Ukrainian team as they have prepared in Slovenia the past few weeks. Is soccer meaningful when one’s country is facing extermination? As Ames tells Wahl:

So it is important. And I think also it’s important to remember that what Russia is trying to do in Ukraine is erase Ukrainian culture, no more, no less, really. I think I said it in my piece from Slovenia. And I think as you and I both know, Grant, from our travel: What is an international football team, if not an expression, a representation of a culture, of a country’s hope, of a country’s ambition, of how a country expresses itself and everything around it? So I think that is all tied into what the feeling was in the camp.

If Ukraine can beat Scotland and then Wales, they will face the United States in the first game of the World Cup’s group stage in November.

I’m glad they will be able to try.