Re: Why the WBC is important
Wonderful post, and I agree with you on most points.
I think the main reason why Americans don't pay much attention to the WBC is the timing. April 1st is almost a national holiday amongst American baseball fans, and April in general is almost like a month long celebration of the return of the sport we all love. Having the WBC in march is just inconvenient for two primary reasons.
First, baseball fans are still in as much of spring training as the players. We're used to spending this time looking at prospects and praying that our star players don't pull anything. To ask the majority of fans to care about our national team when they're busy prepping themselves for the start of their team's season just won't work for most people (myself excluded). Secondly, the players just aren't ready for this. The pitchers are at a tenuous point in their training where they're still strengthening their arms for the season, so they're not ready to go all out, and the hitters are still trying to find their timing. Because of that, the results of these games are really not a good indicator of how strong each team is.
Paul Konerko actually had a great idea when he said that we should replace the all-star game with the WBC and just have this thing in the middle of the season. Instead of rewarding the best players in the game with a meaningless little exhibition game, why not reward them with a mid season tournament in which they can play for their national pride?
But ultimately, as counter-intuitive as this may sound, it may be a good thing that the Americans aren't all that into this. This may come off as arrogance, but if the Americans are playing at their full strength, then no one would have a chance. The fact that we're not so into it allows for Cinderella teams like Italy and the Netherlands to go into this thing actually believing that they have a chance. And if they have a legit shot at this thing, that increases the chance that the WBC will start interesting Europeans.
But that leads me to my question for you: Is anyone paying attention to the WBC where you live? I know you're German, so you probably can't get an accurate picture of how the Italians or the Dutch are viewing this, but it would be cool to know that Europeans are finally getting at least a little interested in this game. I hope that since neither PSV or Ajax are still playing international football(even though the race in the Eredivisie is tight as hell right now), maybe some of those fans are taking some of that time to check out what their national team just did to Cuba... Twice!
EDIT: And after I typed this, I checked twitter. Both "Cuba" and "#wbc" are trending in the Netherlands. Awesome.
Last edited by Vander; 03-11-2013 at 12:41 PM.