If you’re like me, you’re wondering, “Hey, what’s going on with the World Baseball Classic?”
Well, as a public service, here’s where we stand (as of yesterday afternoon.)
Everybody good now?
U.S mounts a late game comeback against Canada to avoid elimination and move to the next round. Italy is a bit of a surprise. They beat Mexico 6-5, and then Canada 14-4, but lost to the U.S. 6-2. The U.S. lost to Mexico 5-2, but have now beaten Italy and Canada.
Okay. How am I a baseball fan and still not knowing much (anything) about the World Baseball Classic?
Two minutes of research tells me this:
The WBC was created by the International Baseball Federation, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and other professional leagues and players associations around the world, in response to the Olympics removing baseball as an Olympic sport in 2005. The first championship was held in 2006, the second in 2009, and the third tournament is this year. Plans call for a championship every four years from now on.
Take that, ya lousy Olympics! Who needs ya?
To cut to the chase, Japan won both the 2006 and 2009 tournaments, and Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka won tournament MVP honors in both tournaments. (He’s not playing this year. After being the 2009 MVP, he had an injury-riddled year with the Boston Red Sox, possibly from being overworked in the WBC, or otherwise injured during the WBC, and in 2011 he had, yes, Tommy John surgery. This year he’s signed a minor-league deal with the Cleveland Indians. This spring, so far, 7 innings pitched, 9 hits, and a 2.57 ERA. Good luck, Daisuke.)
Which does raise the question whether it’s worthwhile playing in the WBC, risking injury for your nation’s glory. It sounds, from what I’ve read, like those players who are invited to play feel it’s quite an honor. But I wonder if that’s how they really feel?