It’s almost time for pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training. This Spring Training will be slightly different though as the World Baseball Classic (WBC) will also be happening in March.
For those who don’t know, the WBC is a baseball tournament in which teams from around the world compete and a true “World Series” champion is decided. Major League Baseball players from all teams will play for their birth countries in hopes of winning it all. Well, not exactly all MLB players – many players won’t play because they are coming back from injury (Derek Jeter and Mike Trout for example) or their MLB teams simply don’t want them to risk injury (almost every pitcher).
The World Baseball Classic has been played since 2006 (2006 and 2009) with Japan winning the title in both years. The United States lost in 2009 in the Semi-Finals and in 2006 in Round 2.
There are many reports of the possible roster that the USA will have playing for Joe Torre and the roster will not be finalized until after Spring Training begins.
My question is this – does the USA even care about the WBC? The WBC does not carry with it the sense of “American Pride” that the Olympics do at least to the general public (if baseball was still played in the Olympics that is). Yes, the players themselves (the ones willing to play) do play for national pride, but do the fans care?
As a baseball fan, I would much rather have the players on my favorite team not play in the WBC. I would much rather have them in Spring Training working on their conditioning, working on things they need to improve on and basically playing every day with the guys they will be spending every day from March through October with instead of playing for what is basically a meaningless tournament.
I don’t want any player for any team, not just my favorite team, playing in the WBC and getting hurt and costing their teams a chance at the World Series. Yes, the WBC does what it can to limit injuries (such as strict pitch/innings limits) but it is still basically meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I know MLB team owners will say the right things like “we fully support our players playing for their respective countries in the WBC,” however, deep down you know they’re dreading it. They don’t want a player they are paying millions of dollars (or tens of millions of dollars) playing in games that don’t really matter, risking injury doing so. If a player gets injured in Spring Training or during the course of the regular season that’s one thing; getting hurt while playing for someone who’s not paying their paychecks is something different.
While I wish the USA the best of luck, I simply don’t care about the WBC.
What do you think? Do you like the WBC? Please vote in the poll below and comment.
Do you care about the WBC?
- Yes - it's a case of national pride (52%, 16 Votes)
- No - it should be for amateurs, not MLB players (26%, 8 Votes)
- What's the WBC? (13%, 4 Votes)
- Yes - but if my favorite player/team misses the MLB season I won't (9%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 31
About the Author: Rich Stowe
Rich Stowe has written for many sports-based websites over the years including Informative Sports.com, Sports Nickel.com, Dugout Report.com and was a Featured Columnist for MLB and the New York Yankees for Bleacher Report. Rich is a Lifetime member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). He is also a self-published author - his book "From Abused Puppy to Beloved Family Member: The Life Story of Jacob the Rottweiler" can be found for the Kindle and in print through amazon.com.