GUADALAJARA, Mexico – México defeated Venezuela 11-9 in the final game of pool play at the World Baseball Classic Pool D, and celebrated clinching a spot in the tiebreaker game against Italy to determine which nation would advance to the second round. MLB, however, announced that it would be Venezuela playing Italy, as the tiebreaking formula favoured them. At a 3:40 a.m. (Central) press conference, México explained their perspective on the decision.
A brief explanation of the rule is necessary before a quote from México captain, Adrián González. Rather than use simple run differential, which does not take into account extra innings and mercy rulings, MLB created a formula available here to do just that. The formula is as follows: the total amount of runs allowed by teams tied for second place in games against the other tied teams are totalled and divided by the number of defensive innings, including partial innings (italics added, it is written as a parenthetical statement).
Based on this formula, in head-to-head action if all innings, regardless of number of outs recorded (the MLB position and the interpretation Venezuela had), the rankings are as follows:
Team: Runs Allowed: Defensive Innings: Result:
Italy 20 19 1.052
Venezuela 21 19 1.105
México 19 17 1.118
The following is our exclusive English-language transcript of a calm, professional, and thoughtful Adrián González speaking on behalf of México:
“The concern is that this afternoon when Italy lost this afternoon, we tried to get ahold of MLB representatives so they could give us a clear indication of the rule. When we read it, the parentheses of ‘partial innings’ was unclear. A lot of people we asked in the stadium, MLB people, one person said it was innings played, one person said it was outs made and another had another opinion. Everyone had their own opinion. When we asked our representative Frank, we were told that we needed to win by two.”
“But it was not an official person that made the final decision, so we went into the game with the indication we were given before. After we celebrated, we were told to hold on.”
“So for us, it was outs made [divided] by runs allowed. Partial innings [means] if you take the field that counts as an inning, because you are allowing the other team to score. By that interpretation, we were in. It was not written as outs divided by runs allowed, it was written as partial innings.” [Ed. note: México is arguing that because it took the field in the ninth against Italy, it gains credit for an inning, whereas MLB ruled that three outs is an inning, so the runs count, but the inning does not, similar to a pitcher surrendering a run in an inning in which he did not get an out.]
“The confusion is that Major League affiliated people are split 50/50 on it. At the end of the day, they said, ‘It is what it is,’ and that was their final answer to us. ‘It is what it is, this is what we thought of when we wrote it and we didn’t write it clearly enough.'”
“The other problem is that @WBCBaseball Twitter announced that we were through, then retracted it. We are going to file an official protest when we walk out of here.”
According to ESPN International’s León Lecanda, a detail not mentioned in English is that “México is protesting the decision, but they accept it. They will open the gates tomorrow to allow Venezuela and Italy to play, but they do not agree with it.”
We will have more on @extrainnings_bb as it unfolds.