Why I don’t like the WBC
I’ve been sitting on this post, but given that the games are starting up, now is as good a time as any.
I think the World Baseball Classic is a bad, bad idea. For starters, playing games that matter is a poor substitute for spring training, when the games don’t matter and you can gradually ease players into playing a full nine innings. The players, particularly the pitchers, aren’t in shape enough for this kind of thing, and it’s only a matter of time before some team’s star gets hurt and their pennant chances go out the window (we should thank our lucky stars Felix isn’t pitching, while at the same time crossing our fingers for Ichiro).
Even if you can get past that, the idea that this will determine anything is absurd because many of the best players in the world — wasn’t this the WBC’s #1 selling point? — aren’t even playing. Pedro? Out. Manny? Ditto. Vlad? Likewise. Japan’s top catcher, in camp with the M’s, isn’t playing. Melvin Mora, Billy Wagner, CC Sabathia, and Aramis Ramirez are among others who have pulled out of the tournament recently. Wagner and Sabathia were replaced on the US roster by — this isn’t a joke — Al “6.13 ERA” Leiter and Gary Majewski.
Throw in some far-fetched national eligibility — your great-grandfather once vacationed in Rome? Welcome to Team Italy! — and the whole thing is a sham, contrived by Bud Selig in an attempt to get us to care about the results of what amount to glorified spring training games.
For me, baseball started today because I heard Dave Neihaus on the radio, not because Korea beat Chinese Taipei in front of a mere 5,193 fans at the Tokyo Dome.