There’s been a lot of hoopla recently over Barry Bonds’ decision to drop out of the World Baseball Classic. But, you know what? I don’t care.
Good for him! In fact, I think more players should follow his lead. I’m sure Brian Sabean, the Giants’ ownership, Barry’s teammates and all of San Francisco’s fans are absolutely thrilled about his decision. And, why shouldn’t they be? Who really cares about some trivial, over-hyped, money-grubbing event like the WBC? As a Mariners’ fan, I can assure you that I don’t want Ichiro playing (and heaven forbid if Felix is allowed to participate!).
I mean, can you imagine the backlash if a MLB player gets hurt during this exaggerated advertisement disguised as “competition”? I know that WBC supporters are thinking, “What’s the difference between getting hurt at the WBC and getting hurt during Spring Training?” Well, I’m glad you asked! Spring Training is just that…training! Players are training for the toll that a 162-game season will take on their bodies.
The WBC is supposed to be a competition. However, it’s flawed because MLB players won’t be playing at 100%. To me, any competition that wants to be taken seriously shouldn’t have any restrictions placed on its competitors (outside of the standard rules for the game taking place!).
However, during the WBC, pitchers will have pitch-count limits. How competitive is it really going to be when Buck Martinez has to pull Brad Lidge because Lidge has reached his limit of 20 pitches. Furthermore, the goal of the WBC is to determine which country is “the best” at baseball.
But, how can that be fairly determined when the best players are dropping out? And, why does it even matter in the first place? You’ve got players playing for countries they may have never even been to (Mike Piazza and Italy) and new American citizens playing for Latin countries (Manny Ramirez). Face it…the WBC is a joke. It’s worse than the All-Star Game.
Yeah, I’ll probably end up watching some WBC games, just because I love baseball so much. However, I won’t be rooting for an individual country as much as I’ll be rooting for all of the players to stay healthy – so they’re able to play when the games really matter!
UPDATE: Uh…yeah. What he said! Jayson Stark is the man.