World Baseball Classic: Will it Ever Be a Big Deal?

The largest sports event in the world happens ever four years. It is the World Cup of football. The World Cup is an event where the best players in the world of soccer play for their country to see which country is the best in the world. Other sports such as basketball and rugby have similar events that take place every four years as well. Baseball also has this type of event. It is called the World Baseball Classic and it is going on right now. But unless you are a big baseball fan, it barely moves the needle.

Even in the United States, where baseball was invented and is called the “national pastime”, the WBC gets little attention. ESPN SportsCenter highlights are filled with college and NBA basketball this time of year. The games on the big network are college and NBA games while the WBC is relegated to ESPN Deportes or the MLB Network. Major League baseball spring training games are getting more attention on the MLB Network than the WBC. And yet the WBC is still going on.

If you watch the games in Asian countries, these games have a World Cup type feel to them. Huge crowds attend and bang thundersticks and roar throughout the games. In Korea, Chinese Taipei and Japan, the WBC is serious business. In the Latin American countries such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama and Puerto Rico it is a big deal as well. But to really catch fire, it has to become a big deal in the United States. With our bloated sports calendar, it is tough to work in yet another event.

What would it take for the WBC to catch on here? First, we need to win one. Nobody here wants to watch the Japanese or some other country keep beating us. What will it take for us to win one? Simple. We need our best players to play in the event. That has yet to happen.

This year’s team is loaded. With players such as Jimmy Rollins, Derek Jeter, Ryan Braun, David Wright, Mark Texeira, Giancarlo Stanton, R. A. Dickey and Craig Kimbrel, there is a ton of talent on the squad. But let’s look at some of the guys not on the team. No Josh Hamilton, Steven Strasburg, Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria and Bryce Harper. No Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Justin Verlander, no Justin Upton, no B.J.Upton, no David Price, no Cole Hamels, no Chase Utley.

How would you like to go in with that roster? We would take our chances with those guys. So until the US can get its best on the field, this event will be an afterthought.

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