The World Baseball Classic got underway with Japans 4-0 victory over China, and now many countries are looking forward to thier first games in the tournament. While it should be an exciting tournament, I've been reading a lot of negative things about the World Baseball Classic by the fans. By and large, people do not like the idea of the tournament, bashing Selig for introducing the concept, and bashing everything else they possibly can about it. Some of the arguments I understand. People do not like that its in March, which interupts spring training, and people don't like that their favorite player could get hurt in this competition and then miss the season. Understandable. Other people don't like it because they somehow feel its a disruption to their lives, hate the idea of international competition, hate the idea of baseball, hate themselves, hate the world, and hate you. These people I can't really account for. So before I go on to argue why the WBC is the greatest thing since ninja's roamed fuedal Japan, I will address some of the concerns.
It Interupts Spring Training
This is true. Some have suggested having the tournament in November while players are still in playing shape, but this would be a tough sell for players who just finished playing a 162 game season. However, going forward, the WBC will be held once every 4 years. Players who want to play in it tend to prepare ahead of time, and although it makes the season start later (something I'm not in love with) it also allows more time for players in the tournament to prepare and be ready.
My Favorite Player Could be Hurt and Miss the Season!
I can understand the concern, but the reality is, they could get hurt in spring training just as easily. They would play far more pointless games at spring training, and increase the chance of an injury. I would be more concerned with pitchers than position players, but the WBC has a lot of rules for the use of pitchers. They also have a 28 man roster, which helps players not get overused.
I Hate Bud Selig and this is his Idea!
Sure enough, Bud didn't win a lot of fans over when he reigned over the steroid era of baseball, but you have to acknowledge that revenue sharing and the luxury tax have helped level the playing field, and under his watch MLB added three new teams, while recovering from the tumultuous 1994 players strike. Baseball has never done better, and you can thank Bud for that. Now, with the WBC, Selig is trying to make baseball an international sport, which it should be. Baseball does not get much recognition around the world, and we all know how great it really is.
But Why is the WBC so Amazing?
Well, it gives us meaningful games to watch in March, it allows us to see great players represent their countries, and gives us the opportunity to see what other countries are building.
This is just the beginning, so the competition may not be on par, but that being said, Team USA got knocked out by Mexico in 2006. There are good teams out there, and the competition helps different countries build their programs. For 2013, the WBC may feature up to 24 teams, which means they'll be introducing new countries into the mix. This is what will make the tournament more exciting. Spring training games are largely boring, and lack any excitement. The WBC features meaningful games we can watch in March. Some people may argue that the games aren't meaningful because it means nothing to them, but if you watched some of the WBC games from 2006, you saw how into the games the fans got. I've never seen that much excitement at a spring training game. Besides, seeing a team like the Dominican Republic which has bashers up and down the lineup, or the amazing infield of the American team, or the surprisingly competitive Canadian lineup, you're seeing the best baseball competition in the world. Now I know that not all the best players are playing, with many players opting out last minute and the like, but you're still featuring some of the best players from each country. If you can't get into that, I'm not sure how into baseball you can be.
Lastly, you see these games get played with heart. The players who are there take pride in these games, and actually want to win. That's something you can't say for Spring Training games. If once every 4 years, the best players in the majors want to take a few weeks away from spring training to play meaningful baseball, I don't see why anyone should care.
So is this the best thing since ninja's? I suppose I haven't really proven that, but who cares. I can finally watch baseball that doesn't end with minor leaguers working on bunts.
If you do not like the WBC, I'd like to hear why. Sound off in the comments section!