Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've seen xenophobia, but this is ridiculous...

All this talk about outsourcing of baseball jobs has me thinking: does this guy know what outsourcing is? To hear it from him, any job of any sort going to any foreigner is outsourcing. I beg to differ. This guy is an idiot. Non-American players have been playing at a high level for a long, long time. Recently, there has been an up-turn in exposure given to foreign players (I blame Hideo Nomo). I've known who Yu Darvish is for a while now, just like I had heard of Junichi Tazawa, Hiroki Kuroda, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, Kaz Matsui and so on and so on. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel are just 2 more names to keep an eye out for. For each of these highly touted prospects,* I could name 10 American-born players who have had as much exposure before playing in the majors.

"Outsourcing," as I think of it, involves a job going overseas to someone whose productivity costs less (the marginal cost of a good produced is lower). Is that what is happening with these two pitchers? Not really, no. A true outsourcing would be to field a minor league team in a foreign country, with players from that country, who are playing at the same level, but for less money.

These guys are being brought to America, with the hopes that they can perform at the highest level. That's what the MLB is all about, not just finding the best American players, but finding the best players in the world. The Jays owe more than a small share of their success in the late 80s and early 90s to their ability to recruit Latin-American players.

India has the chance to be the next great hotbed of baseball talent, based on the success of these two individuals. Because of cricket, there is a good chance that they have acquired the most simple of skills necessary for baseball: they can field and they can throw. Yes, the bowlers have far different mechanics than a pitcher, but bowlers might also have a better understanding of a full body throwing rotation, where the arm is just along for the ride (think Tim Lincecum, the NL Cy Young winner). There are 1 billion people there, putting a baseball camp somewhere has to turn out something useful.** The marketing opportunities for MLB alone should drive one team to take that chance.

To sum up, this ain't outsourcing, this is competition. Being in the Pirates organization, there is not much competition, but these guys still have a lot to learn.

Speaking of uncommon baseball markets,*** the Jays are hopefully going to be debuting the first New Zealander ever, Scott Campbell, either this year or next year. Basically, this year is gonna be fun to watch because of the kids (Romero, Romero (D and R), Cecil, Mills, Purcey, Snider, Lind, Campbell, Thigpen, Arencibia, Jeroloman, Dopirak, Jackson, Fuenmayor, Cooper, Collins, Emaus, Ahrens et. al) and because of the inevitable Roy Halladay vengeance tour for the Al Cy Young vote. It's not that he didn't win (Lee was a perfectly suitable choice, although I would have chosen Doc), it's that so many voters put him 3rd, and even getting dropped altogether from one ballot!
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*Singh and Patel are not highly touted, they are just test cases and reality TV show winners. Like Pros vs. Joes, except the Pros are still actually in their prime
**The Devil's Advocate would point out that China has produced just 1 Major League Player: Harry Kingman, playing in 4 games in 1914, amassing a batting record of 0-3, with a walk. Yep, that's a .000/.250/.000 line.
***Off-topic, but the coolest place of birth ever: Ed Porray. Birthplace: A Ship on Atlantic Ocean.

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