On early-morning baseball (and why we need more of it)

The Olympics are over, and while I’d like to note that I nailed the order of teams on the podium, the Olympics isn’t what my post today is about.

No, it’s about morning baseball. Well, it’s during the afternoon or night where it is taking place, but due to time zone differences they are in the morning in the USA. Mostly that…

I quite enjoy it! Sure, I might not always be able to get up on time or stay awake for all of it, but whether it was the Olympics or ESPN’s KBO coverage during 2020, I found myself at least trying to watch. And at times, I got super-pulled into it, just as if it was a regularly-timed game in our hemisphere. Besides, it’s nice to wake up and watch baseball instead of doing whatever it was you would normally be doing early in the morning.

Alas, now that is gone. Oh, sure, I can if I want try to find some stuff streaming, but that isn’t quite as easy as it is during the Olympics or when KBO was on ESPN.

Which is why I’m calling on MLB Network to fill in the gap. Have on games from Asia before MLB Central is on every morning. It would be surprisingly cheap to do: the pandemic has shown that calls can be made from continents away, and I’m sure that the rights for the games wouldn’t be too expensive. It wouldn’t even have to be every day: perhaps just once or twice a week they could showcase a game from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, or (during winter) Australia.

Make it happen, MLB Network!


The More You Know: What is the Posting System?

One of the big things in the baseball news today is that the Dodgers are the winning bidder for the rights to negotiate with Ryu Hyun-Jin, one of the best pitchers in Korea.

This is the result of the posting system between MLB and the baseball leagues of Asia, most notably the NPB but also the KBO, where Hyun-Jin is coming from. Essentially, it is a way to compensate Asian teams when their players head to America. It also benefits the player. You see, while a player in Asia can go wherever he wants if he is a free agent, it takes longer there to become a free agent, so the posting system allows them the chance to come to America while they are young and presumably in their prime.

It works like this: the team has to decide to post a player. Whether they do so is up to them, although the player can ask to be posted. There is then a period of blind bidding for the player: every MLB team can theoretically bid for the player, but they have no idea what the other teams are bidding.

When the bidding is over, the MLB team is then able to negotiate with the player. If they reach a deal before the deadline, the money they spent with the bid is sent to the Asian team, and the player comes over to the USA to play with the agreed upon salary. If there is no deal made, then the player goes back to Asia and nobody gets any money.

The posting system is controversial, as it puts a lot of risk to the teams (if they make a mistake, they’ve drained a ton of money into that mistake) and favors the big market teams in America (it’s highly unlikely you will ever see, say, the Kansas City Royals, get the services of a top play through the posting system). However, for now, it is essentially the only way for young Asian players to come to our shores.

And now you know!