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Monday, August 20, 2007

World Champion or American Champion?

Why are they called World Champions in North America?

When a North American team wins the World Series, they are North American champions. Not World Champions as proclaimed by commentators or the media. Because their rosters contain foreign players does not equate with the distinction of "World Champion." The same argument can be made for National Basketball Association (NBA) teams with foreign players. Without a doubt, the NBA and Major League Baseball (MLB) contain some of the most talented athletes from around the world in their respective sports. But they don't compete in any type of organized international club competition that would end any argument about who has the best team. During the NBC 2004 Olympic basketball commentary from Athens, Greece, Doug Collins used the term "World Champions" to describe the Detroit Pistons, along with Serbia and Montenegro. The term should apply only to the latter, who at the time, were the defending World Champions. Argentina won the gold medal in Athens, and the USA finished in third place.

Promotion of International Club Competitions

Our domestic baseball champion should play against the best teams from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, or anywhere else who would welcome the challenge. I would think that the North American champion would enjoy competition against foreign teams. Then they could rightfully earn the distinction and honor of World Champion. The powers to be in baseball should showcase the best team in the sport to the rest of the world. Not just in exhibition tours or opening games in foreign countries. These are good promotional vehicles, but a true global competition, such as the World Baseball Classic held last year in the USA, which was won by Japan, was an impressive start. Baseball is a historical part of American culture. Other countries have developed a passion for the sport. The demand is present for a global club champions competition, so why not create one? I have always been intrigued that one of our most ardent ideological and political foes embraced the American sport of baseball: Cuba.

NFL uses the term World Champion

The National Fooball League (NFL) has a habit of using the term "World Champion" to annoint its annual winner of the Superbowl. But is this accurate or perhaps reflective of arrogance? Where else in the world do people play organized gridiron football? Relatively few countries, although the league has strong support in Mexico, and growth in Europe. The league plans to play its first regular season game on European soil at the Wembley Stadium in London later this year. But in fairness, the Indianapolis Colts are not World Champions.

European Football does not confuse the terms

Internazionale of Milan has players from such diverse countries as Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, France, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden. When they won the Italian soccer title last season, they (along with their domestic media) did not call themselves "World Champions." Manchester United of England (who are owned by the Glazer Family of Tampa, Florida) has players from Argentina, England, France, Ireland, South Korea, Wales, and the USA. They won the English premiership league title last season, but did not call themselves "World Champions." AC Milan of ltaly won the European Champions League final last May against Liverpool with players from Brasil, the Czech Republic, Georgia, and Italy, but did not call themselves World Champions. European Champions was the proper term, even if the competition showcased the best players from around the globe. Including to the surprise of many last year, a few North Americans who participated in the prestigious tournament.

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