Why the name of the World Series should be changed
The name “World Series” is a relic of American imperialism and a past where the United States was the only major baseball-playing nation
AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this post considers the geographical border between North America and South America to be at the man-made Panama Canal, although the geographical border between the Americas is generally considered to be the Panama-Columbia international border.
Not too far from now, Major League Baseball will, for the 112th time in baseball’s modern era, award a postseason championship in the best-of-seven World Series. The teams that will compete in this year’s World Series are, as of the writing of this article, yet to be determined.
With another World Series only a short time into the future, I think that it’s nonsensical to continue to refer to MLB’s postseason-ending championship series as the World Series.
The origins of the name “World Series” date back to the late 19th century, before the first modern World Series in 1903. At that time, baseball was primarily played in the United States, and the champions of either the National League (the American League didn’t start play until 1901) or a championship game/series of games played between the National League champions and another baseball league could plausibly claim to be the world champions of baseball. Additionally, American imperialism was a prevailing political ideology in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
However, in 2016, baseball is not just America’s national pastime. Canada is home to one of MLB’s 30 clubs, and Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and other countries can claim to be major baseball-playing nations. Baseball in 2016 is not like sports like American football and Australian rules football today, in the sense that teams playing within one country can vie for a de facto world championship in their sport, even if the term “world championship” is not commonly used to describe the champion of their sport.
I regard the winner of the World Baseball Classic, a true international competition between teams representing baseball-playing countries played every four years, as the true world champions of baseball. Currently, the Dominican Republic is the reigning champion of the World Baseball Classic, and the next World Baseball Classic is scheduled for next year.
A more appropriate name for the World Series would be the North American Series. This is because all 30 teams that play in Major League Baseball are based in either the United States or Canada. The usage of “North America” in this sense refers to a division of the Americas between North America and Latin America at the United States-Mexico border, not a division of the Americas between North and South at either the Panama Canal or, more commonly, the Panama-Columbia border.