Mug of Malcolm

World Baseball Classic Matters, But It's Too Prominent

At the Tokyo Dome, the Taiwanese World Baseball Classic team lost to the Chinese World Baseball Classic team. Taiwanese fans cried. Literally bawled. They said they didn’t want Taiwan to continue going abroad to play other nations in baseball for humiliation’s sake.

Meanwhile at Rogers Centre in Toronto, 40,000 Canadians packed in to cheer on their Canadian World Baseball Classic team. The United States defeated them, however, but it barely made headlines.

Carlos Ruiz is the starting catcher for the Panamanian team. Really, he’s the country’s most popular player. The focus of that iconic game five photo, Ruiz was coaxed by the president of his country to play in the World Baseball Classic. Barack Obama did not call Jimmy Rollins.

Chan Ho Park wanted to play for his South Korean team. He really wanted to play. But he decided he couldn’t — instead, he had to win a starting rotation spot for the Phillies, the major league’s top team. He had to stay in America. He cried. Literally bawled.

And yet in America, we don’t care. Like when the World Cup invades our televisions — it truly invades — we yawn and carry on after it ends. Baseball is the great unifier, and yet it unifies nothing in the United States.

A division bell

If anything, baseball in America divides. Baseball fans are divided into 30 contingents. The media plays up the rivalries — Yankees vs. Red Sox, Phillies vs. Mets, Cubs vs. Cardinals, Dodgers vs. Giants. When our teams win, we not only celebrate victory, but we laugh in the face of our rivals. When Jimmy Rollins took the stage at the Phillies’ victory celebration, he assured a hard dig at the Mets. Why? What’s the point?

When the United States team assembled for the World Baseball Classic, we rued the idea of Rollins and Shane Victorino playing alongside David Wright. We expressed caution for the players’ performances after the classic. The major league season is much more important — that’s where rivarly is cultivated. That’s when we expend our emotions.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world cheers and hisses and lives and dies with what occurs on the field. For a tournament created three years ago.

A solution

A solution, then, to keep international interest high and keep major league players out of injury risk, is to turn the World Baseball Classic into an amateur tournament. Half the teams are filled to the brim with amateur players; why should there be an uneven field? Why not make the World Baseball Classic the substitute for the winter leagues every three years?

Most Americans view the classic as an unnecessary problem, and it can be fixed to satisfy everyone; still, we can’t deny what importance an event like this brings to other nations.

Chan Ho Park recently waxed about the impact he had on his nation. He was the first South Korean to reach the major leagues, and his fellow Koreans watched him madly. During tough economic times, people huddled around televisions early in the morning to watch Park pitch against major league teams. Early in his career he was astounding. He gave his countrymen hope.

Every fifth day South Koreans watched Park judiciously. If he could do it, anyone could. Children admired and imitated him. He was a national hero.

In 2006, Park represented South Korea in the World Baseball Classic and tossed 10 scoreless innings. He again gave his nation hope.

And here we are, 2009. Now it’s the United States under a cloud of economic horror. Some of the greatest baseball players from across the country have gathered to win a tournament, but to us, it’s just that: A ridiculous tournament that takes away from the intensity of a major league season.

Maybe a change to the tournament will put it in its rightful place.

43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Phan in TN

    March 8, 2009 at 8:20 am

    How many Americans know about the World Baseball Classic that started in 2006?

    If Major League Baseball’s World Series was barely watched in 2008, why would this new baseball league be popular in the US?

    With our homeless, unemployed citizens barely scraping by and the Yankees spending more than a small country, perhaps some baseball fans have become jaded and have had enough of watching baseball.

    I speak only for myself.

    I’m only saying that I fully understand why this World Baseball classic thing is barely watched and why most Americans really don’t care about it. Its not Olympics or MLB.

  2. Jason B.

    March 8, 2009 at 8:52 am

    In other action in the WBC, both Reyes and Tattise were upset by a team from Northern Europe, the Netherlands. Those pot smoking dutch thightened the noose that allowed two Mets to “Choke” again. I woke up at 5 am to watch China vs Korea. The other night I stayed up late to watch China take on Taipei. The WBC matters to me, a BASEBALL fan. Sure, my favorite team is the Phillies, but if there is one thing I am above all, it’s a baseball fan. Tim, I completely agree that most Americans are apathetic towards the classic. But is that a suprise? Hell, nobody cares about the fall classic in this country, unless it is their team jockeying for the title. I think the apathy us Americans feel towards the WBC is right on par with the apathy Americans feel towards anything else that happens outside the confines of this country. True baseball fans will watch the WBC, but seriously, today, how many true baseball fans are there left anymore?

  3. Amanda Orr

    March 8, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I like the idea of the tournament, just not the timing. More players would participate if it weren’t right before the season.. I think November would be an approriote time, after the postseason, guys are still in shape, and if a player gets hurt, they have time to recover.

    I enjoy watching the WBC. It’s baseball, my favorite sport. It doesn’t matter who is playing, I’ll watch it. It was awesome watching game after game after game, non stop. And it was nice to see those playoff atmosphere type games.

  4. Jason B.

    March 8, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Amanda I agree totally. When watching teams from the far east, its more than playoff atmosphere. It’s national pride. You can see on the players faces how much each hit means to them. They live and die by every strike. I was watching the game this morning and the players on team China looked so dejected. They looked as if they let an entire country down. If Canada would have beaten the US, nobody would have cared. As a baseball fan, I think the only thing more exciting than watching two countries who are geographical foes duke it out is watching my team in the Series. I can’t wait for the games tonight. I will be glued to the screen. It’s a shame more Americans are not.

  5. Jason B.

    March 8, 2009 at 9:18 am

    BTW, you’re also right that the tourney should be moved to November. By that time, most players have already had a month off unless they went to the WS so they are rested and do have the recovery time should they get injured. I will say I like the fact that Pedro Martinez is pitching his butt off. That means he’ll tire out early in the season, weakening the Mets pitching staff.

  6. Phan in TN

    March 8, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I guess that’s the difference after all. I’m not a BASEBALL fan. My grandmother didn’t just take me to a baseball game in July of 1974. She took me to a Phillies game at the Vet and I fell asleep on her lap.

    Why would I watch the WBC? Shane Victorino

    Can I watch WBC or Phillies games live here in TN? Its not easy. I live in a state that doesn’t care much about MLB baseball. I’m the only Phillies fan in my my county.

    So, I’m not a true baseball fan. I’m also guilty of falling asleep sometimes during radio broadcasts when Harry Kalas is talking.

  7. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I love the idea of a national competition but I can’t see how baseball can consistently put a competition together with the best in the world competing not an abridge version of the major countries.

    There’s just no time in the year that would work consiering the wear and tear especailly on the pitchers and you have to really worry for the pitchers. It’s great for the guys trying to find a way to elavate themselves but it’s not exactly a no-holds barred competition of the best fighting it out for supremecy. Arbitrary pitch-counts for starters just take away the essence of the game, it’s a glorified series of exhibition games. How can it be the best of the best if neither of the reigning Cy Young pitchers are representing their teams

    You can’t have a competition where no-one in the league and the fans truely wants to see their players competiting for fear of the effects on their health and that’s the reality of the WBC.

  8. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 9:54 am

    ^BTW Jason B. The Netherlands team is a pretty good team are the perrenial powerhouse in Europe, except almost their entire roster is made up of players from former Dutch colonies so they basically are a surrogate of the Americas.

  9. Greg V.

    March 8, 2009 at 10:02 am

    But the rivalries have seem to be put aside, at least for me. I’m rooting for David Wright and Derek Jeter, two guys I have had plenty to say about over the years, because I root for my country. I’m very much into the WBC this year. I cared that the team won. If the rest of the country doesn’t get it, they are missing out big time on a great event. Even the other games are a thrill to watch.

  10. Evan

    March 8, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I like the idea of the WBC and wouldn’t want it turned into an amateur tournament. Watching the best players from the MLB getting to represent their home countries is exciting.

  11. Arthur

    March 8, 2009 at 10:12 am

    funny how u start this article with taiwan, i am a phillies fan from taiwan living in the states now, i watched thru the game and it was pathetic, we flat out didn’t show up and i understand all the rage and sadness because i am one of them.
    much like Park with Korea, Wang of the Yankees is like that role to us, we watch him every 5th day, when he win, the stock market goes up(i know it sound crazy but it is true) when he was hurt last season, the tv replay some of his early game instead of other team’s game and people still watch it.
    the problem with WBC is really simple, it will take couple humiliated losses for the US before they finally assemble a real all star team like they do in the NBA.

  12. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 10:14 am

    The problem is it isn’t the best players especially on the pitching side. Injury is one thing but honestly you don’t hear the tennis players turning down an invite in the olympics, that’s not a critisism of the players or those who are at the WBC but the sides could and should be stronger. If your a canadian Cubs fan for example you don’t want to see Rich Harden pitch in the WBC when you know he’s not going to make 30 starts for the Cubs.

    The WBC is a great idea but it has to be structured better than it is now, the competition is watered down.

  13. Justin

    March 8, 2009 at 10:22 am

    As a baseball fan i put allegances down if they’re playing for my country, U.S.A., I respect their abilities, and I agree with Amanda as well in the fact that the game should be changed, but I think it could actually be a little later, they could probably start in January allowing the players to train primarily with their respected country and allow the minor league guys to get more reps in games and have the coaches watch them more since that’s who they really want to see anyway the stars or guys that don’t need to fight for a roster spot are the ones who compete anyway. The players such as Park who compete for a starting pitcher spot or a starter spot in general are the ones who don’t or won’t compete so that they don’t lose anytime.
    But I do see the argument to make the tournament more of an amateur tournament as well. I just don’t see MLB players lasting in this tournament long, i see more of the prospects taking this tournament over in the next WBC.

  14. hamels' left hand

    March 8, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Pedro isn’t on the Mets….yet, anyway.

  15. JoelR

    March 8, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I think the WBC is the best thing to happen to baseball in a long time, and making it an amateur tournament would take away everything that makes it special.

    I would agree that some structure and timing could be improved, but players shedding their clubs and uniting to play for their countries is something baseball has sorely lack for ages.

    The USA vs Canada game yesterday was one of the best games i have seen in forever. it had everything you could hope for in a baseball game, and it literally felt like a game 6 in the World Series. How can you not love a guy like Adam Dunn, who has never really had a chance to play in the post season, checking his pulse in the dugout in the top of the 9th. And then telling the press that to him this IS his playoffs. Or the young prospect Aumont getting called on to pitch with the bases loaded, then striking out some of baseballs best hitters.

    If America is not paying attention then it’s our own stupid fault. Sure the tournament may be a bit lopsided for awhile, but if it gets baseball to grow in other countries then it’s worth it.

  16. Mazinman

    March 8, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Here are my two cents.

    I think, when debating the WBC, we need to put into context the viewpoint of who is watching it. Living in Puerto Rico, I can very much say thats its a big deal to us. There is pride in our time and when we crushed Panama 7 – 0 yesterday the stadium was going nuts. Its the only time of the year where we can see big MLB stars coming to the island. Heck its the only time of the year I will be cheering for the likes of Beltran or Delgado! It was really fun yesterday, it will be fun next game, and it will be REALLY fun if we get a chance to knock the Dominican Republic out of the tournament. This fun, on our island, we won’t get again until a couple years pass when we get the WBC again.

    Just because it does not grab as much passion or attention in the United States I do not think we need to rush to change things. Its awesome for the likes of Japan, the Dominican Republic, and my own Puerto Rico and I think this is because the mainland US is spoiled. They get the fun of MLB for half the year every year. We don’t so its a very special thing when we get big league talent come and play here. Yes there is an injury risk but I think the good it does outways the potential bad. For all the problems we have in our island right now we are all united this weekend having a blast.

    I don’t think MLB should tinker with the rules to please the US crowd and end up taking away a good thing for everyone else. We, for example, don’t want to see the amateurs. We want to see to big guns. Thats a big part of what makes it special.

  17. Pingback: World Baseball Classic: This Time it Counts (for the United States) | Heard in the Cheap Seats

  18. Phan in TN

    March 8, 2009 at 11:53 am

    very well stated, Mazinman.

  19. Chris Iafolla

    March 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Mazinman, you raise a very valid point. The WBC was not created to please U.S. crowds or to appeal to the U.S. fan base. The reasone for the WBC was to further enhance the brand of baseball worldwide and extend the globalization of the game. In my opinion, making it an amatuers only tournament would take away from that goal.

    I do think the WBC has some flaws related to timing, the makeup of the teams, etc…But wathing the U.S. versus Canada game yesterday, I got the sense that the U.S. TEAM is treating this year’s WBC different. Does the U.S. fan base care? That is another question entirely. I don’t we’ll see any U.S. fans bawling over a loss any time soon, but I do think fans should tune in to these games–they won’t be disapointed.

  20. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I needs to be a real international competition, 2 teams from Europe made up mostly of players from the Caribbean and the Italian about as Italian as their hockey team is hardly exporting the game. It’s mostly a whipping for the non-elite countries and the top ones aren’t fielding their best teams.

    The WBC is kind of like the all-star game, you just don’t quite know what it’s purpose is at a time my stupid country turfed the game out of the Olympics. There’s more exposure made of the young players at the futures game and in winter leagues and it doesn’t have the passionate vibe throughout that’s brought by the South American countries. It’s got a little bit of this and that but lacks any kind of real identity, purpose or statement for the game. If it’s the best of the best on the international stage shouldn’t Tim Lincecum have been starting game 1 for US? There’s pressure to win on what is essentailly a very depleating US team and around the globe it’s only really followed by the baseball hardcore outside of the countries that live and die by the game.

    The format and the exposure (and purpose) of the WBC needs to be improved. If it’s going to be seen to be the ultimate stage for baseball internationally it needs to be seen to rival the world cup, rugby world cup or even the Davis Cup although any improvements to the tournemouth could hurt the future of major league baseball. Most of the NFL’s power is in it’s structure and status and if the WBC cannot be legitimate while MLB sits on the fence unsure of it’s role and fielding a B-team for the country which is essentiall the hub of baseball no matter how you look at it.

  21. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Coming from one that isn’t I do have to ask do fans outside of the ‘baseball countries’ care? Coming from the UK I can tell you no-one does, no-one outside of the baseball hardcore cares and even in Holland their more likely to watch a soccer league game than the WBC as I’m sure the same is for Australia and South Africa. The following of the WBC isn’t even in the same ballpark as hockey in the winter olympics or basketball in the summer olympics where the fringe teams throw out their best to give everything they’ve got while and when the best players from the superior countries barely have an invite turned down.

    Lets call a spade a spade here, if the WBC’s purpose is to export the game it’s done an aweful job and if it’s purpose is to see the heavyweights slug it out it’s failed there too.

  22. BurrGundy

    March 8, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    This was another good article by Mr. Malcolm. I wish the World Baseball Classic
    drew more attention here, but the MLB rivalries are too intense in the US. Plus we really do have at least six months of the best baseball in the world. It is exciting to hear about teams like the Netherlands winning, and China playing baseball. It is good for us to be an example of excellence in this sport and an outlet for great players all over the world. It is very good public relations and will grow into something special — THE WORLD CUP OF BASEBALL.

  23. Phan in TN

    March 8, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    My frustration at the moment is that I turn on my TV and cannot find a game to watch.

    If I don’t get my MLB.TV fix some time this month, I’m gonna go bonky.

  24. Jason B.

    March 8, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Phan in Tn:
    I’m sorry, I may not have been clear… I wasn’t insinuating that if you do not watch the WBC, you are not a baseball fan, I was just saying that is why I watch it. It isn’t because I have any vested interest, just that I like to watch baseball. I apologize if I lead you to believe something different. Plus, who doesn’t fall asleep on a lazy summer night listening to Harry’s pipes. It’s like a grown mans lullaby.

    I think it is a good tournament that could afford some changes. And saying the Netherlands are the baseball powerhouse in Europe is like saying you are the best Bocci Ball player in Alaska. Just like the majority of Americans don’t care about soccer, most Europeans do not care about baseball. You’re right, most the players are from former territories, but you cannot make an argument that the D.R. did not get upset yesterday. That was a huge upset.

    I understand why it is a bit thin on pitching… In a day where you are considered a workhorse for pitching 200 innings, Anything more at a high level can really be a detriment to a teams success during the regular season. I’m not saying I agree, but that is the age of baseball in which we live. I don’t think I would want Hamels pitching 20 innings in the tournament if it meant 20 less in the MLB.

  25. Griffin

    March 8, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Why not get rid of the meaningless MLB all-star game and play the semifinals and final of the WBC during the All-Star break?

  26. Manny

    March 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Making it an amateur tournament is a really selfish proposal. The rest of the world likes this tournament in part because teams get to play the Derek Jeters, the Big Papi, the Jake Peavys, the Magglio Ordonez of the world. These “stars” NEED to play to make this tournament interesting for EVERYONE, not just the U.S.

    And the “division bell” argument is weak…. I wasn’t born in the U.S. and I can assure you that in every country in the world, sports divide a country in the same intensity as here in the U.S. Maybe even more. Manchester United fans HATE (literally, DESPISE) Liverpool FC and wish them the worst, and they are the happiest in the world when the other team loses. It’s nature, and it’s not unique to America. But when it’s time to cheer for the national team, they do it together even though existing rivalries will remain.

    The issue is that here in the U.S. the sports culture is self-absorbed. It’s the old idea that the U.S. is the biggest, the most important country in the world. So who cares what happens beyond its borders? There’s this idea that there’s no need to compete against other countries with your best athletes because you’re already the best. And I’m sorry to say that this article’s proposed solution to the WBC validates that same old and arrogant viewpoint.

  27. Phan in TN

    March 8, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Jason B, no offense taken whatsoever. I literally meant that I am not a baseball fan.

    I had a discussion with my wife about watching baseball games that don’t have the phillies playing. She would say “who do you want to win?”

    I would answer with “they both cheat, so i want both of them to lose”

    I have a very nice baseball card collection but of course I have my Phils segregated. The groups are Phillies and Not-the-Phillies.

    Simplistic? you betcha

    Regarding the WBC, I don’t think that we Americans can get used to our MLB heroes being equal to other baseball players in a competition.

  28. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Jason B. your right it was an upset but don’t count on many Dutch people knowing they just upset one of the baseball powers. It’s the classic chicken and egg question and what makes things so complicated is the fact that there are really only the two top professional leagues in the world unlike hockey which exports it’s best but still have strong home-leagues. Once you take the talent out of countries like Australia and China you’ve run the well dry without those countries even knowing because it’s not like Japan or South Korea, you have to wonder who’s actually watching because it’s not like in the major baseball countries where you can turn the TV on and watch the game.

    You can’t be a good door to door salesman if no-ones at home or slamming the door in your face but the international baseball community hasn’t quite understood that yet. They have to tailor the top international competition around the MLB and the Japanese league whilst trying to set up proper competitive leagues in Europe, Africa and Asia. You can’t just invite a weak side like Taiwan or China with no baseball heritage and expect them to compete, expect countries with even less baseball exposure like Holland and Australia to care and then expect countries like the US to take it serious when their not fielding their best sides (and don’t ask the Canadians to care either when they know they have no shot). This tourney is for the countires like the Japan, DR and Cuba to ‘prove their the as good as the US’, nothing more.

  29. Jason B.

    March 8, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    TN:
    I did the same thing with my cards growing up. As matter of fact, if I didn’t have any Phils in the deck, it was a bad deck and I pretty much tossed those that weren’t Phils. I wonder how much money I tossed as a kid for doing that.

  30. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Manny you make a good point the US is very insular with it’s major league sports and as someone who day by day puts up with the English football culture it makes me love sports like baseball even more. The simple fact is don’t do the WBC for us or even the Italians or Dutch, no-one who doesn’t follow baseball religiously or plays it cares.

    BE INSULAR! tailor the competition to be a top-tier demonstration of the best with the passion of winter league play in the Dominican Republic not a half-hearted attempt to export the game to countries that don’t care unless you’ve taken steps to make them care. You can’t get the WBC on tv in the UK. To be honest I wouldn’t care to much if I was following the US team because it’s what essentaily is the back-up team with a FEW of the elite guys, it’s only the Japanese, Koreans and Dominicans taking this tournemount seriously.

  31. ActuallyChilled

    March 8, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    this isn’t about the USA. its about the world. period.

  32. NJ

    March 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    If by world you mean DR, PR, Cuba, Venuzuela, Japan and South Korea…

  33. Mazinman

    March 8, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    To NJ: AND the Puerto Ricans! Don’t forget about us! 🙂

    Something that came accross my mind, what if the WBC took place earlier in the year? Have it be in December or January, for example. Here it will still be plenty warm to have games. The other sites can either be in warm locations as well or in indoor stadiums. That way the players will have a rest period after it is done and before the season starts to get ready or heal up after any injuries happen AND we get something to do while waiting for Spring Training to start.

  34. Brian

    March 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Yeah, I love the WBC, and I’m an American. Maybe the US team needs a leader to play the role that Ichiro plays for Japan, where he puts this tournament on par with the World Series and browbeats the team’s intensity up to 11. They were locked in against Korea.

    There are plenty of stars in the US that aren’t going near the playoffs anytime soon, as Adam Dunn pointed out, so this is the closest they’re going to come to fun, intense, meaningful baseball all year. Why wouldn’t players want to be a part of it, especially because it’s for their country? Maybe US players don’t feel like they need to prove anything, and that it doesn’t matter if Japan can more credibly claim that it has the best team in the world, but as a fan, it matters to me.

    You can prepare for the season by competing against the best players in the world, for your country, or you can shag balls in Florida, playing against minor league scrubs in meaningless games. Is that really a tough call?

  35. Manny

    March 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    I think it’s WAY too early to give out “solutions” for the WBC. It is fine… it will be a slow process. You know how many teams played in the first FIFA World Cup (by all measures, the greatest sports tournament worldwide)? 13… and they were all invited. Most Europeans team didn’t want to bother to participate in this tournament which was being held across the Atlantic, in Uruguay. Only South Americans cared, the rest of the world didn’t. I think with baseball something similar can happen. It might take half a century, but it will be worth it. It is good to see compromise from some players in the USA team, as well as players from all around the world. I liked the vibe from the USA-Canada game in Toronto and it was hell of a game. The other 2 were pretty good too. This tournament will grow if you leave it as it is…maybe play with the schedule, but the best from each country MUST PLAY.

  36. ryan

    March 8, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    i’m into it. i can’t wait for the USA / Venezuela game tonight. i don’t understand why so many people are against it. it’s actual competitive baseball in march. what else are you going to watch? you’d rather watch spring training games? plus, you get to see J-Roll and Jeter and Shane and Chipper Jones and all these guys play on the same squad and sit in the same dugout. very cool. J-Roll made a huge defensive play to save the game against Canada yesterday.

    and you can tell that these guys actually care. Adam Dunn said its the most nervous he’s ever been in a game. that’s what makes it work. the fact that these guys actually care

  37. Manny

    March 8, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I agree Ryan. Can’t wait for that USA – Venezuela game… should be good.

  38. Jeff

    March 8, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I like the WBC I think it is fun to watch I am not totally into it though, lets be realistic, The best American players are not all playing, I mean Japan’s best are playing same with many other countries. I mean Ryan Howard not playing, Hamels not playing Lidge, they are some of the best American players out there. Utley wouldn’t have played anyway with his injury, but also one of the best.

    Could you imagine Howard, Utley, Jeter, Wright in the same infield, with Pedroia and Rollins backing up. The conflict of many players wanting to be fresh for the season is a tough one.

    Not complaininng about Howard not playing but just hoping Rollins and Victorino stay healthy.

  39. Manny

    March 8, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    J-roll gets a double, but Pedroia can’t bunt! Agggh

  40. tim mccarver sucks

    March 8, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    The tournament to me is cool in a way some of the best players in the world are playing for nation pride. I think asking for amateurs to only be able to play in it is selfish to the rest of the world who look to the MLB as the best players and talent in the world. Outside of Japan and Cuba, The stars of a puerto Rico for example want to make the MLB for them and their country. I like the tournament its not as intresting as olympic basket ball or Hockey but I’ll watch and root for USA. People who want to compare it the soccer world cup are foolish because it is the most popular sport outside of the United States and so of course the rest of the world is watching and enjoying it. I didnt even watch a world cup game of the last time it was held. Im watching the USA_ Venzula game right now and enjoying seeing baseball played at a higher level then the average spring game. I think on another note Spring training should be cut down to about 17-20 games and only the month of March and in years of the WBC we have about 20-25 spring games so the players can play a few with the mlb team.

  41. mick

    March 9, 2009 at 7:55 am

    The World Baseball classic will never have chance as long as it is played in early March—Players and most importantly pitchers are not in shape. How absurd is it that your starting pitching is on a low pitch count in the ” World Baseball showcase”! Winning baseball is about solid pitching-not 65 pitch tune ups for MLBs opening day.Players are playing not to get hurt! It is just a matter of time before an out of game shape pitcher blows out an arm.This is another “Bud Selig Classic’

  42. Mike Daniels

    September 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Some more tips would be great as the game of tennis seems to change each ten years. Plus more tips are appreciated.

    samantha

  43. мишкa

    December 12, 2009 at 7:24 am

    Люблю тексты в таком духе! Спасибочки 🙂

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