The World Baseball Classic
(WBC), the lovechild of Bud Selig and his wacky fantasy of making a buck with Major League Baseball around the globe, seemed very intriguing when vague plans were announced many months ago. But as time grew nearer for the first ever WBC to commence, things began to grow sour. The guidelines for the event specified pitch count limits for each rounds and the rule that the early circuit of games could end in ties made this seem more like a T-Ball tournament than a showcase of the best ball players in the world.
If Selig’s true intent was to promote the game to new places and recruit new fans than why are the only three game locations (Tokyo, USA, and Puerto Rico) all places where baseball is already thriving. This whole thing reeks of a scam. It seems lie Selig and the rest of the MLB brass were far more interested in selling the custom designed jerseys of everyone’s favorite players. That’s why it’s kind of nice that the whole thing is blowing up in their faces.
Many stars of just opted out fearing injury and subsequently financial damage to their careers. Also, many Major League owners, most notably and vocally Mr. George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees, have voiced their discontent about the timing of the this thing. These owners shell out hundreds of millions dollars each year on these players, not to see them go down with a major injury just weeks before the start of the new season; which brings up the number one problem with the WBC.
There is absolutely no good time to field this event with Major League ball players. The MLB season is just far too long and grueling for an event like this to include professionals. When would it be? Not in November, obviously March is turning out to be a problem. The only reasonable time to hold this tournament would be in the middle of winter, right around the holidays. But how are you going to ask athletes who spend the better part of each year away from their families to give up the time that is the most precious.
Perhaps, down the line, they might be able to hold a revised WBC featuring the best college and minor league players. There is a wealth of talent from all around the country and the world who would be willing to participate who don’t already have to endure the great length of the MLB season. The college and minor schedule is dramatically shorter and it would give unknown prospects an outlet for showcasing their own talents on a national stage.
But this would never happen. Bud Selig would not be able to sell some unknown from Witchita St. like he could hawk Derek Jeter’s #2 USA Jersey. It’s unfortunate situation but one that hopefully will right itself. Team USA barely squeaked past the first round, and I feel that the WBC is doing the same in the eyes of the general public. Another slip up, and it might be a one and done deal for the World Baseball Classic.