Skip to main content

High Five For World Baseball Classic

"Baseball Spoken Here"

It's one of the few catchy phrases for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. An event, that was created, then modified after the inaugural 2006 WBC to bring the game of baseball to an international level. "The Classic" has raised many flags in the past due to its risky nature for players and controversial timing, but has quickly become a growing phenomenon amongst the baseball community, as well as sports fans alike. And despite the many critics that fault the classic for removing major league players from spring training camps, pushing pitchers very early in the year, attempting to replace the Olympics, and placing many high profiled players in harms way before the Major League season begins, the WBC has proven to be highly successful for five distinct reasons.

1. Globalization

The game of baseball needs to continue its growth, and the only way to do so is by international competition. Almost every other sport known on a global level has international competition. From soccer to basketball, and cricket to hockey, international competition develops the game globally, spreads the spirit of baseball, and strengthens the talent pool.

2. A Grand Stage

Many critics slam baseball officials and the International Baseball Federation for sanctioning such an event. After baseball and softball were eliminated from Olympic competition starting in 2012, plans for creating an international event began, but one that will use the best players from around the world instead of amateur athletes. Since then, the World Baseball Classic has produced an epic inaugural tournament, an interesting 2009 tournament (so far), and plans for expansion to 24 teams for the 2013 WBC. With a continuing feel of excitement and exclusivity, the WBC has the potential to become to baseball, what the FIFA World Cup is to soccer (futbol).

3. Fan Base Expansion

Despite baseball's growth over the past decade due to rising stars and the longball, it has been no secret that the game has had it's shares of black eyes along the way as well. The use of performance enhancing drugs, suspensions, and the fall of many heroes can be added as well. However, baseball is still alive, and well - and still growing. Despite it's growth, baseball still falls behind the mighty powerhouse that is the National Football League in the United States, and the world domination that is premier soccer. Nonetheless, the WBC allows the game of baseball to reach new corners of the world, and gather interest from new fans who might be interested due to the international competition. We always see a similar result every four years in the World Cup with new fans taking a liking to the sport due to the event. Hopefully, after a few years of brand awareness and excitement, the WBC can help create excitement, and new fans to the sport.

4. New Talent

A personal favorite, an integral part of the WBC's success is due to the opportunity to view new talent. Whether they play overseas in other leagues, in the minor leagues, or part of grassroots academies, viewing the talent from each country, their development, and their potential for stardom is exciting as a baseball fan. Japan's young phenom in Yu Darvish; Cuba's unbelievable national team, along with their star infielder Yuliesky Gourriel; Korea's, Tae Kyun Kim; and the development of talent for team Italy, Australia, and South Africa are all interesting. Viewing games in early March with playoff intensity and fresh talented players is a great recipe for success.

5. Pride

International competition is all about pride in your country. The WBC has created a platform with such passionate baseball hotbeds as Japan, Korea, Cuba, United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela participating. Add in the story lines of Japan looking to repeat, the United States, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela attempting to recover from previous embarrassment, and many other countries looking to prove themselves, the WBC creates a pride in one's country, athletes, and belief that it is the world's true baseball powerhouse.

As we near the conclusion of round one, we've witnessed many upsets, close calls, and intense games. The WBC has proven once again, despite the usual criticism in all languages, that it is indeed a viable event in one - baseball.

Recently Read Posts

CM Punk's Return - Perfect Timing for the Symbol of Anti-WWE

Looooooooook in my eyes, what do you see?! The lyrics to Cult of Personality, especially that first bar,  never felt so fitting for CM Punk as it did last night.  For the most part, everything that is CM Punk's return to wrestling last night at AEW Rampage ties directly into my latest thoughts on pro wrestling - the company is making it must-see destination television, an element desperately needed from pro wrestling.  Last night was incredible as again, it was another moment that made wrestling feel alive - with a wild and energetic pulse. It was one of the coolest moments in pro wrestling that you knew was coming, expected, anticipated, and it was everything and more. Again, MUST-SEE television. That's hard to do.  For me, it wasn't just Punk's return to pro wrestling, but the mere presence and voice of his inclusion in today's space. We know that Punk can deliver on the microphone - probably his best and most signature attribute. We also know that yes, he can

Predictions and Wild Guesses for the 2021-22 NBA Season

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my New York Knicks have become a bit of a sanctuary for my sports fandom. Everything that has been the New York Yankees summer, and recent elimination, just begs for a proverbial turning of the page. The NBA season is that new chapter.  The Knicks season is a bit of a conundrum, as they've gotten much better, BUT, so did the rest of the Eastern Conference. I'm feeling confident, but I'm also anxious for more good basketball and hoping that last year wasn't some fluky gift to us Knicks for our patience prior to last season.  Whatevs...nonetheless, here are my predictions for the upcoming NBA season.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/24/21

3 Up 1. Science and Research - Look, I'm not trying to get into any debates or start trouble with this selection. I'm just giving props to the men and women who continue to develop these vaccines - and now approved booster shots - that help fight off this terrible virus that has plagued over the past 18 months. Some countries still don't have an option when it comes to vaccines - we're onto booster shots, and can "choose". Perspective and privilege are needed sometimes.  2. Col. Wang Yaping - Give it up to Yaping who in six weeks will become the first Chinese woman to walk in space. OF course, she is receiving tons of backlash from the media - but hey, did we expect anything else? 

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/10/21

3 Up 1. Moderna Vaccine to Low Income Nations - In a world where the idea of "pandemic" now feels like a state of mind or the privilege of belief, Moderna has decided to aim its efforts in getting at least 1 billion doses to low-income countries the COVID vaccine. I'll save the "vaccine" chat for another time - but this is pretty awesome by Moderna. And oh yeah, highly needed.  2. Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi - Two absolute legends of the WNBA had some legacy-cementing moments this week. Parker lead her hometown Chicago Sky into the WNBA finals, and Taurasi, was named the GOAT of the WNBA by fans. Because well, she is. Congrats to both.  3. Netlfix's On My Block - For the second week in a row I'm putting a personal - and admittedly, biased - selection in the "Up" section. One of my favorite shows by Netflix, On My Block , released its fourth and final season, and yes, I binged it on my daily commute home. Gonna miss the crew from Freeridge.