A pitting of the sore-loser Chinese baseball team

The saga that’s unfolded over the past few days:

Taiwan, the Philippines, and China were competing for a berth in the Little League baseball tournament.

Taiwan defeated the Philippines once - a 10-0 shutout - and defeated China twice, by the score of 4-1 and 5-2. Since Taiwan qualified for the final upcoming deciding game no matter what happened next, there was no point in playing starters against the second game against the Philippines, and so Taiwan rested many of its players, wanting to have well-rested starters for the final deciding game. Taiwan lost to the Philippines 4-2, but it didn’t matter; standings-wise it was a meaningless game.
To use an analogy, this is like an NFL team that has already locked up the No. 1 seed in its conference and has nothing to play for, and so rests its starters in a meaningless Week 17 regular-season finale, wanting to be rested for the playoffs.
But then China, who was eliminated by this loss, lost its mind. There *must *have been a conspiracy; Taiwan must have *deliberately *lost to the Philippines in order to oust China from the tournament. Never mind the fact that Taiwan had guaranteed its passage to the final deciding game. Never mind the fact that China was at no point ever likely to win the tournament to begin with. Never mind the fact that even if Taiwan played its starters, it could have still lost to the Philippines anyway, thus generating the same outcome. Never mind the fact that China would have probably done the exact same thing as Taiwan - rest its starters if it had already gotten guaranteed passage to the final game. No, China’s elimination *must *be due to a Taiwanese conspiracy. How could it possibly be anything else?
And so the organizers - oh, did I mention that this event was held in China? - ordered Taiwan to play an *additional, new, not-originally-scheduled *game against China - with the winner to advance to the final deciding game and the loser being eliminated.

To use the NFL analogy again, this would be akin to the 13-2 Denver Broncos having the AFC’s No. 1 seed, and resting their starters for the meaningless season finale against the San Diego Chargers, and losing, but then the 10-5 Pittsburgh Steelers, who were desperately fighting for a playoff berth, being enraged that they were eliminated from playoff contention by virtue of the Chargers win - and then the NFL orders the Broncos to play a 17th regular-season game against the Steelers - an extra, unscheduled game - in order to give the Steelers a “fair” chance at advancing to the playoffs - with the stipulation that if the Broncos lose, the Broncos are out of the playoffs.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending in real life. Taiwan crushed China this week, 11-1, officially sending China out of the tournament for a second time.

You had me until you mentioned the Denver Donkeys and the San Diego Chargers.

Wait, so the Steelers are out?

Yes, they will not be playing in the Little League World Series.

I think the Chinese have a point. It isn’t like they’re going to wear the starters out by playing them in a meaningless game. I can see resting their ace pitcher, but the rest of the players should at least play some of the game. In MLB, teams that are both out of the postseason can play a few players just up from AAA in the expanded roster in September to give them a taste of the big leagues. But when one of the teams is in the pennant race, the other team owes it to the rest of the league to make an honest game of it and play their normal lineup.

This is how WWIII will start.

Not with a bang, but with an out.

Well, if you can’t start a war over the Steelers being eliminated from the Little League World Series, what can you?

Fair enough, but making them play ANOTHER game to re-decide the outcome is absurd. It’s a total flaunting of the rules, clearly meant to give advantage to the Chinese team.

How did China do in its games against the Philippines?

It would seem the the real question as to who should advance would be between these two teams. If China was clearly dominant vs the Philippines I could imagine their being incensed that they were knocked out because the Philippines were given a freebee win, but I would think that they woulld be vying for the Philippines spot rather than Taiwan’s.

I can also understand Taiwan’s decision to let some of their bench warmers play. Inspite of the level of competition, it is still little league, and there are intangible benefits to letting all players get some play time in the tournament.

The other team owes nothing to the rest of the league. They are in it entirely for themselves.

[Annoying pedant]

I believe “…flouting of the rules…” is what you were going for there.

[/Annoying pedant]

Could you point to an account of the event you’re talking about? What I’m seeing is the Asia-Pacific Regional qualification tournament took place June 25-July 1 in Seoul, and was won by the Korean representative, East Seoul Little League. The course of the games was nothing like you describe.

I believe it is actually the Little League’s “Big League” tournament that the OP is referring to. LL has several different age divisions; these are players who are a lot older than the 9-12 or whatever it is that constitutes “Little League.”

Spoken like a true communist.

This is a different tournament, high school aged.

Ha, proof of a conspiracy to make China look bad.

You’re only supposed to win by 5 or fewer runs so that the loser can save face.

well, if nothing else it’s proof that “making a huge deal out of kid’s sports” is not a uniquely American thing.

No that’s standard procedure. If you’re the Brewers say and the Cardinals are chasing the Cubs in the last week of the season, you don’t play your call-ups when you’re playing the Cubs. You owe the Cardinals that much. If nothing else, they will remember and your players may expect to be thrown at.

I don’t know if this is unique to MLB culture (admittedly, I rarely watch MLB). But I’ve rarely seen this attitude/culture in other sports or leagues.