Re: Why the WBC is important
I completely agree that the time the WBC is played is rather unfortunate. Players getting ready for the season, might have been traded to another team, getting to know their new teammates and the new system/style of baseball that is played there etc.
On the other hand: When else to play the WBC? I love the idea of putting it in the timeslot of the ASG every 4 years. That would be awesome. All the players are in mid season shape and maybe not so many would pull out but instead would represent their respective countries. The issue with that would be though, that the MLB would need to stop playing for about 2 weeks because there is no chance you can pull off the tourney within one weekend. One could take the NHL as a great example. I donīt really exactly remember when the NHL decided to stop their league play for the time of the Hockey World Cup. But that would be a great example on how it could be done with the WBC. The sport of hockey, at least over here in Europe got a big boost from the fact that a lot of the NHL stars were participating in the Hockey World Cup. So why not do it with baseball?
Does the sport of baseball get more attention in Italy and the Netherlands due to the success their respective teams have at the moment? I have no idea but i sincerely hope it does. Talked to my Dutch buddy the other day and asked him that exact same question. But since he does not care about baseball at all he couldnīt tell me. SO thats far from being representative. But i know for sure that the WBC qualifier tournament in Regensburg and especially the media attention made some heads turn here in Germany. (Tim Kurkjian mode on: "The other day i talked to one executive and he told me that the interest in the sport of baseball has really grown here due to the qualifiers in Regensburg. We have way more new kids showing up for practice than we did last year. Tim Kurkjian mode off).
To the point Vander made about that it is a good thing that the US is not "all in" for the WBC so that other countries may succeed in the tournament ... Hmmm. I am not so sure about that. No doubt. The MLB is the best league in the world and a lot of the best ballplayers are US citizens. No discussion. The thing is: Would an allstar filled US roster really play their hearts out for that tourney? Would every American baseball superstar buy into that? Take the US baskeball team at the olympics or the world championships for example. On paper Team USA had by far the best roster every time. Did they win everything? Nope. So i think it really would be interesting to see how an Allstar US Team would do against Cuba, Japan or Korea from which you know that to their players the WBC means A LOT if not everything.