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World Baseball Classic deserves more attention

World Baseball Classic deserves more attention

Posted by PanamericanWorld on March 17, 2017

Unlike most of you, I’ve been watching the World Baseball Classic. I say it that way because I feel like – no check that, I know - I’m in the deep minority of people paying attention. For example, whenever I bring up the WBC on Twitter, I get 20 generally dim-witted pokes questioning my sanity and asking me why I’m wasting my time.

It’s a shame more sports fans, even baseball fans, don’t give it a chance because the WBC is terrific, and for baseball geeks like me, it provides some of the most emotionally-charged hardball that we’ll see until the major league playoffs in October. Also, because it takes place in March, it effectively cuts the offseason short by a month which, for a baseball fan, is a great thing.

The 16-nation tournament is played every four years now; baseball’s version of the Olympics, and the participating players, most of whom are multi-millionaire major leaguers, treat it as such. They are completely into it, something you don’t always get on a lazy June afternoon at Petco Park in San Diego, site of a portion of the second-round games this week. Watching some of the passion on display, if there weren’t two feet of snow outside your window you’d swear it was the World Series.

The rosters of some of these teams – particularly the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the United States, Venezuela, and Mexico – are filled with all-stars. Mix in Japan, which won the first two WBCs (largely because some of the other countries didn’t take it quite as seriously at the start), and it makes for some of the most exciting and compelling games we’ll see all year. Believe me, every country takes it seriously now.

I do wish, though, that the U.S. would care more. This year’s team has stars like Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Archer, Brandon Crawford, Eric Hosmer, Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Jonathan Lucroy, Marcus Stroman, Buster Posey, and Giancarlo Stanton. That’s a tremendous group.

However, too many American players still won’t buy in, opting for the nice, cozy spring training life where they can play three or four mostly meaningless innings and enjoy the rest of the day doing whatever it is major leaguers do in Florida and Arizona.

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