The Great "American" Pastime is getting more international by the day - not just across the board, but at the highest levels of Major League
In 1997, Dominican Pedro Martinez and Canadian Larry Walker became the first international tandem to sweep the NL CY Young and MVP Awards,
respectively. History repeated itself just two years later, when Martinez and Puerto Rico's Pudge Rodriguez swept the AL awards in 1999. And unless
the Baseball Writers of America pull the biggest flip-flop of the campaign year, the Dominican Republic's Vladimir Guerrero and Venezuela's Johan
Santana stand to become the third international duo to take home the Big Two in the past eight years...
Just ten years ago, American-born players constituted 85% of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, or 45 of 53 overall. The remaining 15% of included four
Puerto Ricans, two Venezuelans, one Dominican and one Jamaican-born player by the name of Chili Davis. That same year in 1994, there was only one less
California-born All-Star (seven) than there were international players in all. Today, U.S.-born players are account for 60.3% of the All-Star
community, or 41 of 68 overall. What a difference a decade makes. Let the numbers show that MLB's 27 reigning international All-Stars include nine
Dominicans, seven Venezuelans, four Puerto Ricans, two Japanese, one Columbian, one Cuban, one Mexican and one Vietnamese player. Just ten years ago,
there were less international All-Stars than there are there are Dominican All-Stars today. On top of that, this year's All-Stars are comprised of
more than twice as many international stars (27) than California-born players (twelve) in 1994. As the world gets smaller, this ongoing
diversification of talent is making the game of baseball bigger. Such is the benefit of global capitalism in the free world. Much to its credit, MLB
is emerging as a true melting pot of US Sport, an honest reflection of American ideals. And after decades of deception, the "World" Series is finally
starting to make some sense...
Assuming young Johan wins the Cy Young, he'll become just the second starting pitcher in either league to win the award without going nine innings in
a single start. (A 39-year-old Roger Clemens was the other as a member of the 2001 Yankees.) Then again, what's it all mean anyway if Santana gets it
done in the post-season? Not much. Not much at all. World Series MVP Josh Beckett twice went the distance in last year's playoffs - including a
series-clinching, five-hit shutout in game six of the Fall Classic - despite not having pitched a single complete game in three Big League
How much is a Schilling worth? All $12 million of his 2004 salary. With 20+ wins in three of the past four seasons, the 37-year-old ace is the high
card in the Red Sox rotation. Like Nolan Ryan before him, the strikeout artist has yet to secure a Cy Young Award in either league in spite of his
Hall of Fame credentials. Big deal. Curt knows better than anyone that his 2001 World Series MVP with Arizona is more precious than any amount of
regular season awards. My two cents? A world championship in Boston would elevate the value of a Schilling to - you guessed it - priceless...