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We’re already on the second instance of the World Baseball Classic and Bud Selig’s wonderful idea has already become meaningless. I mean honestly, who would have thought that the World Baseball Classic would not produce the best baseball from the top talent? Who could believe that so many teams would keep their players that had surgery from playing? Or who would believe that so many pitchers who are conditioned to perform well in April through September would pitch horribly in March? Surely these are jokes that you are making up.
Okay, now that I’ve got the sarcasm out of the way, it’s just amazing how the buzz is almost non-existant for this year’s tournament besides the players who have opted out or not allowed to participate because their team would not let them after offseason surgery.
Here’s a list of some stars not playing in this year’s tournament: Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Milton Bradley, Lance Berkman, Chase Utley, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, and many more. This is not the best of baseball’s talent being showcased. This is the sort of thing that got the Olympics to decide that baseball was not worth keeping as a sport.
It’s quite clear that right now the best talent in baseball comes from America and the Dominican Republic, but due to the rules allowing the financial interests of the owners to be more important than the sanctity of the tournament, many lesser talented nations can go far. Well that and the insane rules that govern how players choose which nation they play for.
Overall, the tournament is basically a two-week diversion from the fact that spring training is now as entertaining as the regular season, and that, quite fortunately, was not one of Bud Selig’s marketing ideas. The only thing the tournament seems to serve as is a base for some international scouting and an arena for Joe Morgan to further stereotype about how the Japanese play a calculating style while Hispanics play with fire and Americans play tough, gritty baseball.