Posted January. 15, 2009 08:34,
Korea is the top-ranked Asian team for baseball, surpassing Japan, the International Baseball Federation said yesterday.
The federation released its world rankings on its Web site, with Korea sitting at third place with 779.82 points, following leader Cuba (1,021.50) and the United States (799.32). Japan came in fourth with 691 points.
The rankings are based points that member teams earn based on their performances in federation-sanctioned events over a four-year span. The winner receives 50 points, second 40, third 30 and fourth 15.
A team receives four times more points for competing in a major world championship including the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
Those competing in continental qualifying tournaments and championships also receive multipliers from one to 0.25 based on the significance of the event. Even the last-place team earns points.
Federation president Harvey Schiller said he is confident that the rankings accurately reflect the performance of member federations over the last four years.
The federation announced its rankings in September last year based on the calculation methods of the International Volleyball Federation. Back then, Japan took the top spot, followed by the United States and Cuba. Korea was ranked fourth.
Some critics say the baseball federations new calculation methods are flawed as seen from changes in its rankings in just a day. Korea was ranked second but dropped to third as the United States got 80 additional points yesterday afternoon.
More suspicious is the ranking of China at 14th ahead of baseball powers such as Venezuela (15th) and the Dominican Republic (17th). This dubious situation arises because the more competitions a team participates in, the more points it can receive regardless of the strength and capabilities of the team and its players.
China, which automatically qualified for the Olympic baseball tournament last year, earned points for finishing seventh. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, which do not enter major international competitions as often as China, are thus at a disadvantage in earning points.
The two Latin American countries also find it tougher to qualify for major world tournaments since they have to face world No. 1 Cuba in regional qualifiers.