Vasi asks if anyone besides him is annoyed at the semifinal format, whereby the games pit the top two of each pool against each other instead of the top team in one against the runner-up in the other. The alternative format that Vasi describes makes more sense, in that the semifinals would then pit teams that had not yet played each other, instead of teams that just played each other in the past week.
Of course, it is obvious that the format was intended to maximize the chances that the final would be USA vs. a Caribbean team, thereby maximizing television interest. That way, aside from the possibility of Cuba being the Caribbean team, there would be the maximum number of marquee major-leaguers involved. (And Cuba vs. USA would certainly generate interest!)
One advantage of the format in use is it has divided the world of baseball into what could be called “Pacific” and “Caribbean” divisions,* ensuring that the final includes one team from either Asia or one of the three big North American countries and one team from the Caribbean.
Somewhat more bothersome to me is that the semifinals and final are single-elimination. I understand the logistical reasons for that format (the whole tournament can be only so long), but baseball is probably the worst of all sports for single-elimination games.
*Ignoring that Australia was thus in the wrong division, and that Italy and South Africa are geographic “orphans.” By switching South Africa and Australia, one could call the divisions West and East, if one is willing to call East Asia the “west,” which it is, relative to the Americas.