The WBC: The Friend That You Wish Was Cooler
“Hey, wanna hang out tonight?”
“Oh, sure! Who’s coming with you?”
“Ah, nobody, buddy! Just me!”
“Shoot, my girlfriendbosssupervisor just called me. Next time, alright?”
I want to like the World Baseball Classic more. A tournament that involves as many countries as it does to promote the game of baseball? Heck yes, sign me up. America may have an IBAF rank of “2,” and I’m hearing some people saying the Stars and Stripes should be the favorites, but really, the only people “favorites” should matter to are people that bet, and people that buy/sell tickets.
Anyway, the US released their roster yesterday, and overall it looks good. Decent infield, Mauer behind the plate most of the time, very good bullpen, above average starters, and a stellar outfield. Coaching staff is pretty good, too. Crazy thing about this roster is that any two losses in Miami or heaven forbid even in Arizona, could spell doom once again for the US of A. I did a homestay in Japan during the first WBC. When Japan had their backs against the wall and they had to play America, I was told numerous times by my host mother America was “too strong,” and that essentially Japan was as good as gone. As best I did to describe how baseball can baseball in Japanese, it didn’t work, and you probably know how Japan did, since they eventually won it all. Even if the US had the best team on paper, we know that doesn’t mean jack [something] in a one-game format against another team that has talent on their squad. However, what really gets me about the WBC, is the timing of it.
We’re doing this in March. While everybody is getting ready to play baseball, and so much so we put pitch limits on pitchers so they’re not overused so early in the season. Also a preventative measure from a country’s manager getting hated on by the team the player is under contract with. Not every player is ready to go in March, be it because of setbacks with injury recovery, or just having the desire to getting focused for the team that pays them. Maybe a WBC in November wouldn’t be perfect, either, but I have a feeling it’d attract more names to the game, and isn’t that what you want? Names? Venezuela’s roster is pretty stacked with names, and I know Korea actually wishes they had a few other countrymen dedicating their time, as would Japan with Ichiro, but I realize there will always be players that don’t go to the WBC no matter the time.
The WBC will be that guy/gal you don’t mind hanging out with every once in a while (once every three years), but you’re always left wishing there was more appeal to them. You don’t want to give them too much attention because you don’t want them to get the wrong idea, you know? But you’ll hang out with them anyway, because what else are you going to do, even if it’s the most dull matchup imaginable. Even if the country you’re rooting for is still in it, and you find yourself becoming annoyed by your lifelong American friends/acquaintances rooting for the country of their great-grandparents over the USA, you might feel alright, but in the end, you’ll know you could’ve had it better.