Originally Posted by Oxilon
That still doesn't change the majority of people's biggest beef with the WBC -- potential for injuries. Have your players half-way through and adjusted to the MLB regular season and than throw them into a playoff-like atmosphere Olympics with starting pitchers taking relief roles, short-day rest, etc.. People on hear complained when Aaron Harang was brought upon short-rest to pitch the 12th inning of a game when there was nobody left. If there was an Olympics, short-day rest would be commonplace.
All sports have to deal with the potential for injuries in international play. MLB has repeatedly said they want to grow the reach of the sport internationally. The only way they are going to do that is to have baseball played in international competitions viewed by people all over the world. At this point, not even the WBC does that, because it is only of interest in countries where baseball is already popular. The Olympics are viewed by people all over the world. If you want young kids in Africa, India or Europe to get interested in the game and start playing ball in order to be come the next new source of MLB talent and the next market for MLB products, you're going to have to get baseball into the Olympics and get it there with top talent. If it requires some sacrifices to get there, so be it. MLB has to decide if the potential for new revenues from future markets is worth the risk. Part of the reason why international soccer is so big is because the various soccer-playing nations have made sacrifices in scheduling their domestic leagues to allow top players to compete in international competitions.
Baseball has more potential as the next big global sport after soccer because it can be played just about anywhere with just a bat and a ball. Kids in the Dominican will make gloves out of milk cartons to play it. Plenty of cricket-playing countries already have athletes with some of the basic skills to succeed in baseball. I don't see any reason why baseball can't spread outside its current reach. But it isn't likely to happen if MLB jealously guards its talent so that the US has the monopoly on games played by the sport's best players. Part of what spread the popularity of professional baseball across this nation was the barnstorming of teams and players when the sport was still young.