Tag: 2010 FIFA World Cup

World Cup 2010: Which MLB Players Could Have Been Pro Soccer Stars?

Soccer is the most popular youth sport in the United States. In 2002, 17.5 million American kids played in organized soccer leagues, not to mention the countless other children who gather for street scrimmages or spontaneous exhibition matches. Compare that to the classic pastime of Little League baseball, which had only 2.2 million participants in 2006.

But while soccer dominates the amateur market, most serious athletes in the U.S. have to switch sports if they plan to play professionally.

Let’s be honest: American soccer is a joke compared to baseball, football, basketball, and even hockey.

It’s not nearly as lucrative, either. David Beckham, the most expensive player in American soccer, is earning $6.5 million this year. By comparison, the Houston Astros are paying Carlos Lee nearly triple that to hit .223.

With all the excitement of the World Cup, it’s only fitting to think about athletes who might have been soccer superstars had the sport been more popular in their home countries—not just in the U.S., but in places like Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

In this slideshow are the 10 current or recent MLB players who I think would have been most successful in professional soccer. Each player on this list has some combination of skills and attributes that are important in the game the rest of the world calls “football.”

There’s no way to predict with certainty what would have happened had things been different. But it’s still worth a try.

Begin Slideshow

Does American Sport Follow the American Dream?

This may seem like a strange idea to think of in the land of the free (and the home of the brave), but the wide world of sports in America could be termed as the land of supporting Communism.

Could a country that is based on free market economics and laissez-faire attitude be equated to be the same as the dreaded “reds under the bed”?

Just look at the definition of Communism (from Latin communis = “common”): a socioeconomic and political ideology, that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian and stateless society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general.

Well, egalitarianism means equal, and I must say, the draft is a system by which this is attained.

By allowing the weaker teams each season to draft first, it allows them the chance to gain an advantage over the better teams. Thus, equaling the playing field over time.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA all have common ownership of the raw resources that enable the means of production. By controlling the draft in the way that they do, and not letting market forces dictate which teams have the best players, it means that American sports ultimately become a mediocre parody of the United States and the idea of the Capitalistic American dream.

The USA is built on the idea of the meritocracy. The idea that only the best is good enough, but that isn’t the case in American sports. If you look at the world of soccer in every country except the United States, there is the concept of relegation and promotion throughout.

In the English Premiership, and almost every European football league next weekend, there will be many relegation battles. These are battles are for survival in the top division (or any of the other three professional divisions in England) to maintain playing against the best teams.

The relegation/promotion system is based on the bottom three (for example) of a division being relegated to the lower division. Then the top three teams from that same lower division gain promotion taking the bottom three’s place.

Losing is not an option that any team sees as a good thing; it is the gaping maw of an abyss that can take years to get back from.

An example of this is Leeds United; a team with years of tradition and success.

In 2002/3 season they were battling it out at the top of the Premier League and in the Semi Final of the European Champions League, the preeminent club football competition in the World. It has taken this long for them to get back to the division below the Premiership after being in the third tier of English Football (They were deducted points for financial irregularities that caused by their relegation to the English second tier).

It is like the New York Yankees or the Philadelphia Phillies getting relegated to AAA, then getting relegated again to AA after being in the World Series.

Relegation means that it is harder to draw the better players that you need to gain promotion, so it all becomes that little bit more difficult. Attendances gradually fall and then sponsorships follow suit.

Could you ever see one of the NFL, MLB, or NBA owners ever letting their prized cash cow lose all that money this way?

In American sports mediocrity is rampant. Teams that just make up the numbers with very little chance of success, but will always fill out a stadium. This allows the chance of their franchise been sold to another city being slim to none (think of the Cleveland Browns; no offence intended to you Browns fans out there).

The draft system in America just helps to keep the status quo by awarding the best options to the worst teams. This just allows the American version of communism to continue.

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