An insightful post from The Mets Police message boards from Thomas.
To say that nobody cares about this thing is not quite true. As a baseball fan from the UK, I find that the first thing people say when you bring up the sport is, "Oh, that's an American thing. Why would you care about that?" It's as if you are betraying cricket or something!
Matt Smith writes for the Baseball GB Blog and summarizes quite well why the WBC is important internationally:
What is good for baseball around the world will in the long run be good for MLB (since all players of any quality gravitate to the States).
Take the two players signed by the Pirates last year from India.
With over a billion people, promoting baseball in India could see more new talent make its way to the majors. I think the WBC is integral to that effort, especially now that baseball is no longer an Olympic sport.
I agree that it could be held at a better time than during Spring Training, but that still wouldn't resolve the problems of franchise fans worrying about the potential injuries their players could sustain playing for their country. Nevertheless, I think the benefits of the WBC outweigh the disadvantages.
I'm not against some sort of international play, but pulling folks out of Spring Training doesn't make sense to me.
There's probably some solution that uses the champions from the Japan series, and some sort of nationalization from the teams that play in the Caribbean Series—I just don't know how you get Derek Jeter to show up some place in January.
It just doesn't seem right to me to play it here at the start of a season. Maybe November would make more sense. I'd be up for some Seibu Lions vs. Phillies action.