A lot of the press around this time of the year has been focused on spring training in baseball. Also getting a fair amount of coverage is the World Baseball Classic.
I think that the idea of this competition is an excellent idea. Besides baseball having a great following in the USA, may other countries like Japan, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, South Korea, and Taiwan also follow suit. We note that baseball is "America’s Pastime" but interest also lies in other parts of the world. Baseball is a great international game. I will be watching this competition with interest as this comes to a head.
That being said I can’t say that I like the timing of this event. It disrupts a very critical time in Major League Baseball’s seasonal development. I would hate to see the regular season games suffer or even risk injury to a player due to a team or individuals maturity. I think it may alter the focus of players for this season too. They are professional athletes which mean that they have to bring their best game anyway but I have true concerns about how distracting this might become.
I was talking with my friend Chris about this competition. We both said how great of an idea the World Baseball Classic is for the game of baseball. But he had concerns as well about how the timing of this event could disrupt things for this season. As a Phillie’s fan he is excited to root for Chase Utley (who he believes is a surprise rookie and dark horse for fantasy baseball) represent the USA. But he also hope is doesn’t affect his performance as well. Chris presented to other scheduling solutions though.
- Play this competition around the all-star break and take two weeks off instead of several days
- Play after the World Series in November so conditioning and mental preparation are not as big of an issue.
I know that I am not a fan of the first option because it would make the MLB season longer which is not what baseball would need. Having it in the off-season would be a great opportunity to showcase baseball right after such a big event like the World Series. The only downside that I could think of is at the point in November the world might be "all baseballed out". But it would still speak quality of the game during the season. If a player did happen to get injured they could have enough time to recover before the start of the season.