Here it is! Today’s the big day! It’s the WBC!
The Baseball event we’ve been waiting for!
Um, anybody there?
For the third time now, ESPN has done a subpar job promoting the World Baseball Classic. Running until March 19, 16 countries will be competing for a trip to the Championship Round at AT&T park in San Fran. There are two newcomers to the field this year, involving a new wrinkle in the rules. A qualifying tournament was held for the last two spots in the tournament, which in the past two Classics were given to Panama and South Africa. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the national teams from Spain and Brazil! Two countries that are so accustomed to their teams dominating one sport are sure to love watching their homeland getting destroyed by the likes of Chinese Taipei.
The real draw of the WBC is that no other major baseball tournament had ever before used MLB players. And the USA roster has a decent amount of firepower. David Wright, Brandon Phillips, and Mark Teixeira provide a solid infield and Ryan Braun could provide the power necessary to give the USA its first medal.
Oh, you didn’t know? Team USA has yet to medal in either of the previous two Classics. Truth is, this field is very competitive. There are 11 All-Stars on Venezuela’s roster, including Miguel Cabrera, and they finished third last time around.
But the real trouble is in the Far East.
Japan is fielding an all-domestic team this year, so no namedropping necessary. The WBC has been the most watched sporting event in Japanese television history, and why not- they are the two-time defending champions. Their biggest rival is South Korea, who also has a roster filled with players you’ve never heard of. Just know this: South Korea is 12-4 all-time at the WBC, with all 4 losses coming at the hands of the Japanese.
Am I going to watch the Classic? Probably not. Truthfully, it’s just not classic enough for me. This is only its third time around, and half of these teams are likely to get trampled early (I’m looking at you, Brazil).
Now the Big East Tournament? That’s Classic.
And it’s the last one, so damned if I miss one last showdown at MSG. BUT, the Big East tourney ends on the 16th. The WBC Championship is March 19. So I’ll be there to bandwagon for whatever team makes it to California.
But with seven months of baseball ahead of me, can’t I just enjoy March Madness?