Saturday, April 01, 2006

If Baseball Were the United Nations
By Imtiaz Mussa

Aside from the division by division previews that you are finding on Sportszilla, I decided to take a look at baseball as if it were the United Nations. I couldn’t do all of the teams because there are just not enough matches but I got a good number. Neither is a symbiotic body as teams or countries are constantly disputing over the littlest of things.

United States of America = New York Yankees
The Yanks are the obvious choice. After all, Americans are often called Yanks all over the world. Both shell out inordinate amounts of money in hopes of winning but have come up on a bit of a dry spell recently. They are not falling off the face of the Earth but neither is at their peak.

United Kingdom = Atlanta Braves
One word to describe both: consistency. The UK has been on top for a very long time but is not the best. The Atlanta Braves have won so many division titles but only one World Series in their run.

People’s Republic of China = Boston Red Sox
If the Yankees are going to be the United States, then Boston is the obvious choice for China. The Chinese can afford to spend nearly as much as the United States and Boston is very much in the same boat. Also there is that rivalry. Whether it’s democracy vs. communism or the Yankees vs. Red Sox, it’s a rivalry.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea = Chicago White Sox
Kim Jong Il = Ozzie Guillen? You have to admit that both are pretty crazy. You can’t deny the fact that if DPRK has nuclear weapons, that they are a power to be reckoned with. By winning the World Series and improving the team in the off-season, the White Sox are a force right now.

India = Toronto Blue Jays
An emerging power with the new found ability to spend money. With the China-United States relationship, they are sitting on the side just waiting for their chance to rise up. They are making gains and it will only be a matter of time. Both are on the rise and will have to be reckoned with.

Japan = Oakland Athletics
Both carry out their business in ways that can be considered to be different from the norm. However, they get results. Oakland is consistently in the middle of the AL West race and though Japan has yet to really be counted among the world elite, are consistently right there.

France = Chicago Cubs
This might be just as good as the United States/Yankees correlation. Neither has done very much winning in an extremely long time but people seem to like them. Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower or Wrigley Field, there is just some sort of attraction. It’s just too perfect.

Germany = Cleveland Indians
Both countries had their peaks but could never win the big one and had to sit on the sidelines for a while. Granted, the Indians didn’t have to wait that long to be a good team again but they came back as a different looking team. Germany is extremely influential in the middle of Europe just as Cleveland is in the Central.

Iraq = Florida Marlins
After having their run, Iraq was raided and is not rebuilding under a new regime. Joe Girardi is the new boss and has a brand new group of players to work with.

Canada = Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
According to the CIA World Factbook, Canada is a land of “rich natural resources” and the Angels have a really good farm system. Both do pretty well when it comes to the economy but have questions regarding the government. There is still some animosity regarding the whole name change in So-Cal.

Australia = New York Mets
In recent decades, Australia has transformed itself into an internationally competitive, advanced market economy. It boasted one of the OECD's fastest growing economies during the 1990's, a performance due in large part to economic reforms adopted in the 1980's. The reform for the Mets was the hiring of Omar Minaya and his new regime. The Mets have been able to spend money, have a new ballpark coming in 2009, and have just created SNY. From an economic viewpoint, the Mets are on the rise.

Russian Federation = Los Angeles Dodgers
They were once the big rivals of the United States when they were the USSR. They had their successes but have now fallen on some hard times. Back when the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, it all about their rivalry with the Yankees. The Dodgers have now fallen on some harder times even though they are not completely down and out.

Italy = Baltimore Orioles
Italy is a beautiful country. Camden Yards is a beautiful ballpark. But there is political instability in both places. Italy is infamous for undergoing constant regime changes since the end of World War Two. Baltimore has yet to find the manager that will satisfy Peter Angelos.

Argentina = Minnesota Twins
Argentina is a nation with some rich resources but constantly falls on economic hard times. The Twins have tremendous players like Johan Santana and Joe Nathan but are unable to move further because of their owner Carl R. Pohlad. Both have the opportunity to prosper but can’t afford to take the next step and truly take their place with the elite.

Venezuela = San Francisco Giants
Historically one of South America's more stable democracies, Venezuela is a country of striking natural beauty. San Francisco is a beautiful city and AT&T Park is a fantastic ballpark. However, there is controversy surrounding the notable faces of both. Hugo Chavez, who has survived a coup, protests, strikes and a referendum on his rule since coming to power in 1998, is the subject of both adulation and loathing among his divided electorate. The president, who says he wants to create a new form of socialism, has pursued populist policies aimed at helping the poor. The rest of the world is not so sure about that and the United States is especially looking into him. Barry Bonds and the allegations of steroid use have created a great deal of controversy and now Bud Selig has announced that he will investigate. Stay tuned on both fronts…


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