World Baseball Classic: Fear and Excitement In Los Angeles

Sixty Feet, Six Inches Correspondent IMarch 2, 2009

As faithful readers of this site will probably know already, I love the spring. It's not just because I hate being cold, or because the warmer it gets the closer I am to being out of school for the year.

It's mostly because of the run-up to the start of the baseball season. After a week or so, though, spring training games get boring. They mean next to nothing—after all, the 1962 Mets (the worst team ever) went 12-15 in spring training.

So for me, the sooner real games start, the better. And this year, those games start a little earlier than usual. The World Baseball Classic kicks off this week.

I have conflicting opinions on the World Baseball Classic. On the one hand, like I said above, after a long winter (and this year, a season that ended in just about the worst way possible) it's thrilling to see meaningful baseball for the first time this year.

And these games are meaningful even though they aren't MLB games, because the players care. These guys have been working hard—in some cases, maybe a little too hard—to get ready for this, and they want to win.

On the other hand, as a devoted fan of a team (and a person who usually doesn't get too patriotic about sports), the WBC scares me a lot. I want the Mets to win the World Series this year, and I couldn't care less who wins the WBC.

All I want is for the Mets, who are in the Classic, to avoid getting hurt and to avoid setbacks from being ready for opening day. And I get a little nervous every time I see stuff like this, a quote from Matthew Cerrone's Metsblog:

The 15 players from the Mets who will play in the WBC all left St. Lucie yesterday, including:
Oliver Perez, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Alex Cora, Carlos Delgado, Pedro Feliciano, Nelson Figueroa, J.J. Putz, David Wright and Francisco Rodriguez.

Yeah, they're just leaving for their national teams. And no, of course nothing bad has happened (yet). But look at those names. Perez and Putz and K-Rod. Wright, Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado. Those are important names for my team, and it scares me to have them in harm's way—not to mention the fact that it would be even worse if Johan Santana wasn't already hurt.

Hell, I even worry about Pedro Feliciano, and I spent much of last year begging for him to be traded.

I'd love to see all the players I like play well, and as an American I'd love to see the United States come away with the trophy. But when it comes down to it, every time I see David Wright dive for a ball for the next few weeks, it's going to make me cringe a little.

I like the idea of the WBC a lot, and I hope it can find just a sliver of the success of the soccer World Cup. I just hope that everyone comes out of it in one piece.

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