For the first time ever, Tuesday, the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) released its World Rankings, with Cuba sitting comfortably at the #1 overall position.
Developed in conjunction with Scott Goode, a sports information director from Harding University (Arkansas, USA), the rankings are based on a point total which IBAF member federations (teams) earn from IBAF-sanctioned events in a four-year window, or a period of time that encompasses two IBAF Baseball World Cups.
“The IBAF is long overdue for World Rankings,” said IBAF President Dr. Harvey Schiller. “The level of competition worldwide grows stronger every year, and we need to begin to recognise the federations that are fielding teams and performing well, whether it is in an intra-continental tournament or a World Cup.”
Asia led all continents with three teams in the top five, headlined by Korea who surged to 2nd place behind a 2008 that saw it take home two IBAF World Championship events – the “AAA” 18U Junior Worlds in Canada and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The United States of America is in 3rd place, and Japan and Chinese Taipei came in at 4th and 5th places, respectively.
(Click here to view the complete IBAF World Rankings)
Teams earn points based on their finish in an event. A tournament winner takes home 50 points, second place, 40; third place, 30; and fourth place, 15. From there, points are divided evenly among the remaining teams in the event to ensure balance between tournaments that feature different-sized fields.
Once points are rewarded based on a team’s finish, that amount is then multiplied by a number based on the strength of the event. Major world championships, such as an Olympic Games, IBAF Baseball World Cup or World Baseball Classic, all receive 4X multipliers. Minor world championship events (Junior, Youth or FISU University Worlds, or the Honkbol Tournament, for example) have a 1X multiplier, and all other continental championships receive multipliers from 1X-.25X based on how many teams in the top-10 of the current IBAF World Rankings compete in the event.
(Click here to view a breakdown of how points are awarded)
The Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Panama, and Australia round out the top-10, with Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Italy, Venezuela, China, Spain, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Germany, and South Africa making up the other half of the top-20. In total, 45 of the IBAF’s 126 member federations were listed in the inaugural rankings.
“We are confident that our rankings accurately reflect the performance of our federations over a four-year period,” said Schiller. “We are also proud to say that our top-20 features federations from six continents, further proof of baseball’s continued global growth.”
The multipliers used for the IBAF World Rankings are based on current standings. Theoretical rankings at the time of events prior to 2009 were not considered. The rankings will be used for promotional purposes only and will not necessarily be used by the IBAF or any other governing baseball body to organize events, nor are those groups required by the IBAF to do as such. New rankings will be released following every event recognized or sanctioned by the IBAF.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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