Thursday, March 4, 2010
Will the WBC Ever be Huge?
As sad as it is to say, the answer is no. Now I love the WBC and watch pratically every game. I think the concept is great, but it won't reach an Olympic like level for two main reasons.
The first is leadership. I give Bud Selig the credit for the idea, but anything with his fingers on it is bound to end in controversy. I just don't think Selig has the ability to capitalize on something big. He's actually more likely to ruin the entire thing than push for it to reach higher levels.
Selig aside, the main reason the WBC just won't work is timing. There just isn't a good time to do this thing. Take a look at the current format- at the beginning of spring training. The obvious is that the players just aren't in top baseball shape. Look deeper and what MLB GM in their right mind want their players competing in the WBC? One tight hamstring or one sore elbow and the guys that should be there are pulled out. Can't blame the GM's. I wouldn't want my guys there either. Spring training is valuable to teams. Look at the pitchers who threw in the last years WBC. Most had early arm problems
So when is the best time to play the WBC? Answer is that there isn't one. I heard an after the World Series recomendation. No way. While you could eliminate the weather problem by playing in warm cities, 95% of the MLB is shut down by the World Series. You can't ask players to get it back in gear after a season that last March-October. Players are looking forward to thier time off, they wouldn't want to compete.
I've heard shut down the MLB for 2-3 weeks like hockey does. Wouldn't work. Can't play the World Series at the end of November, and what organization would want to send their pitchers to get 3 more weeks of work at the time teams are heading down the stretch.
As much as I love the WBC concept, there just isn't a right time to hold the tournament. I do feel that it could be on par with Olympic Hockey or the World Cup, but you would need the games top talent every time out. I will enjoy it next season as I always do, but it could be so much better. I wouldn't sacrafice one bit of the MLB season for it though