The World Baseball Classic doesn’t belong in the spring.
What was developed as a global baseball championship that features countries battling to determine a true world champion is slowly losing its place in the baseball world. Fans hardly show up, even at the United States locations (Arizona and Miami), and MLB players are forced to get into October shape nine months early. Country pride is one of the main — or even the only — reasons why players skip a couple weeks of their team’s spring training to battle for a WBC title.
But Bud Selig’s baseball adventure needs some help.
The WBC doesn’t belong in March where thousands of players are trying to get back into the MLB mindset. Giants closer Sergio Romo lost focus while trying to close out a win for Mexico in the WBC, only five months after striking out Miguel Cabrera for the World Series crown.
And fans aren’t ready for hardcore baseball this early when March Madness looms and the NFL free agent frenzy is trying to steal headlines. Watching the next Cinderella upset Duke or Kansas is more entertaining than even watching Mexico and Canada brawl because someone bunted for a base hit late in the game.
Move this tournament to July and you will see better results.
The attendance will increase and more people will pay attention at home. Players will be seasoned for the occasion and it could serve as a tune-up for making a postseason run in the MLB. Make it a single-elimination tournament instead of this boring, useless pool-play format and it will be even more exciting to watch. Lastly, give MLB more time off in July during the all-star break and hold the WBC in conjunction with MLB’s all-star game and you will see the results improve tremendously.
Opening Day, however, is less than three weeks away as San Francisco defends its second title in the last three years. And don’t forget about the Reno Aces, who will also be defending the Triple A national title. The Aces will be showcasing their championship trophy Saturday during their Fan Fest at Aces Stadium. If traveling to Reno to see a minor-league trophy isn’t worth the trip, then seeing the Giants’ 2010 and 2012 trophies should make it worthwhile.
Like two years ago when the Giants brought its first Bay-Area trophy to the University of Nevada for everyone in Northern Nevada to see and take photos, they will be back again this weekend to show off last year’s as well as the 2010 trophy before traveling back to Cooperstown.
Baseball season is almost here as the Aces, Giants and Athletics look to find some magic once more and make it back to the postseason.
If only the WBC could be even half as exciting, then baseball would easily be the best sport to watch in the country.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at lvnsports.com.