In 2006 I was an outspoken critic of the WBC (I am sure you have figured out, nobody really cared about my opinion) who some-what came around when I realized quasi-meaningful baseball was on during work days. Sitting here, nearly 3 years later, I am again a critic of the WBC. Certainly I will watch the games, and most likely even enjoy them. And when Team USA goes out early again, I will complain about the results.
Blame can be laid at the feet of Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and even the media. The union doesn’t do enough to encourage their members to participate and MLB takes an indirect approach instead of taking a hardline stance that players participate; ESPN and Foxsports, among other outlets, will spend the better part of the next few months talking up the WBC and focus their stories on it’s many flaws.
What will receive little discussion over the next few months will be the lack of pride US fans take in events like this. Let me be clear-Americans love America…but Americans (myself included) are much more interested in celebrating with their team in October, than celebrating for their country in March. Rarely do I discuss my team-the Cardinals-but I promise you I have the same fears now I had several years back. I would be totally distraught if the WBC lead to an injury for any player, particularly a Cardinal.
Unfortunately all most people will hear and read about over the next several months is what players ARE NOT participating. I say we need to celebrate those players who have said no, and praise their commitment to their team and their fans! It isn’t a lack of national pride, but an influx of baseball pride!