On July 5th, a new president of the WBSC will be voted for at a congress scheduled to be held in Taiwan. Next to the incumbent president, Riccardo Fraccari, two other candidates will run for the position.
Those two persons are Didier Seminet, the incumbent president of the FFBS (Féderation Française Baseball et Softball) and Brian Minniti, a former assistant GM with several MLB clubs. The names of the candidates have been announced by the WBSC on June 6th.
One thing is sure. Both new candidates have plenty of experience in running a baseball organization.
As written in the prologue, the congress where the voting will take place will be held in Taiwan. Even without the current COVID-19 measures, attending the congress will be tough. People still need to be quarantined. As a result, they must stay in their bubble (hotel room). Besides that, Taiwan is hard to reach, travel to the island is expensive, and with the current tensions between China and Taiwan, one can wonder if the island is a safe option.
Therefore, several countries have signed a petition to move the congress elsewhere. At least a country that is easy to reach for smaller baseball countries.
Rumor has it that smaller baseball countries are more organized and willing to vote against Riccardo Fraccari. Time will tell if they keep their promise. During the previous elections, Fraccari tried to placate the smaller countries with a lot of promises. Apparently, he succeeded as he was voted for again.
As you may know by now, yours truly isn’t the biggest fan of Riccardo Fraccari. In my opinion, the Italian is surrounded by an aura of corruption. Spain was the main candidate for baseball Olympic Qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics. But in a swift move behind everyone’s back, Fraccari appointed Italy the organizing country, so Italy would have the home field advantage. Unfortunately for him, Israel (USA 2) won the tournament, in which Italy never came close to winning it. Remember that recently Fraccari was under investigation for money laundering? Game balls of the brand Teammate were sold by the WBSC to Panama for a much higher price than the true market value. Eventually the case was dropped, but if there is smoke, there is a fire.
But the biggest issue with Fraccari is his willingness to ruin our beautiful game, in order to get the game back at the Olympics. Since baseball can be a slow sport, Fraccari wants to cut the number of innings of international games from nine to seven. With seven-inning games, it would be easier to convince the IOC to put the game of baseball back on the Olympic list of sports.
I can only hope the country representatives will wake up and vote for any of the other candidates.