Why You Should Care about the World Baseball Classic
Sports fans live to complain.
Whether it's about why they don't like any commissioner, how the referee made a wrong call, or why we care about some guy using steroids 15 years ago, complaining is the name of the game.
The World Baseball Classic is a perfect target for complaints. But, Bud Selig has done something right, baseball fans.
Here's why you should watch the WBC.
It's Not Like This Is the Only Time When the Best Players Didn't Represent their Country.
Is Michael Redd one of the world's elite shooting guards? No, but did that stop people from rooting for U.S. men's basketball?
It's a testament to character when a guy is willing to use his time to represent his country and that's what you get from every single participant in the WBC.
Herbs Brooks, the coach of the 1980 Olympic Champion U.S. men's hockey team, once commented about the duty of the individual to the team.
"All-Star teams fail because they rely solely on the individual's talent," he said. "The Soviets win because they take that talent and use it inside a system that's designed for the betterment of the team."
When was the last time you even watched the MLB All-Star Game? The fact is that it takes more than being the most talented team to win and that's what the WBC shows us.
What Else Are You Gonna Do with Baseball?
You know you're desperate when your Cy Young prediction is the ERA leader of the preseason.
Does anyone actually like hearing about Spring Training? These days, even the team's equipment truck makes the news.
If you want to see the Pirates' minor league pitcher own your team, watch the preseason.
But if you want to see the world's greatest players play for international glory, watch the WBC.
The U.S. Has Something To Prove
It seems like when the U.S. isn't great at something, they don't care about it. This is evident in the World Cup, the Winter Olympics, and eating contests, which just haven't been as fun since that Asian guy came in.
Part of America's disinterest in the WBC came when the U.S. was eliminated so early in 2006.
Had they made the finals, Americans would have been cheering for their team. But don't be a front-runner. Cheer for your team all the way through.
Almost Every Other Country Cares
Japan stops playing professional baseball so they can put their best team forth in the WBC, and their people couldn't be happier.
The U.S. doesn't show that kind of dedication, as shown by the MLB not allowing its players in the Olympics.
During the offseason, Latino countries face each other in international competition, and their fans show more passion than you see at most Major League games.
America simply doesn't show the passion that other countries do. Compare the passion of the World Cup to the WBC. By watching the WBC, you share the passion that the rest of the world has for their teams.
Whether You Think So or Not, the Game Is Becoming International
Baseball is nearly impossible to internationalize. It's expensive, it takes a lot of equipment, you can't play one-on-one.
But it has become known to the foreign world enough for us to know that the U.S. has strong competition.
The 2005 Home Run Derby serves as an example of how diverse baseball has become. In that competition, each participant was from a different country.
We saw someone from the U.S., Canada, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Korea, Panama, and Curacao.
There's a broader pool of talent and that will be showcased in the WBC. So quit complaining. You have reason to watch.
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