I am a guy that loves baseball so much that I’ll change life’s calendar so that life doesn’t interfere with the game.
When I was confronted with the idea of setting a wedding date back in the 80’s, my only qualification was that it not be during the baseball season. Certainly not (gasp) during the World Series. I knew a guy that had to go to a wedding during the ’82 Series…game three in Milwaukee, the Willie McGee game. Needless to say, that scar on a friend made a major impact on me. No big family events during the season.
A few years later, a guy who would become my partner in The Fast Lane on 101 ESPN, Bob Ramsey, turned me on to the idea of using a vacation week during the World Series. It was perfect…the weather was always great for golf during the day, the Fall Classic was on at night, and with the Series starting on a Saturday and a potential game seven the following Sunday, a vacation week and the World Series meshed quite nicely.
Fast forward to 2009. I can get up at 3:30 in the morning St. Louis time to watch first round action in the World Baseball “Classic,” between Chinese Taipei and Korea. Are you kidding me? You know by now I love the sport, but not that much. Not enough to watch a bunch of players I’ve never heard of and will never hear of again.
Among last seasons top ten MVP vote getters in each league, three from each are in the WBC. Team USA is trying to choose a closer from among Jonathon Broxton and Heath Bell. The four U.S. outfielders are Curtis Granderson, Shane Victorino, Adam Dunn and Ryan Braun. If the big hitters play, can you imagine how much ground the centerfielder would have to cover with Dunn and Braun on the flanks? Is this really a display of the best baseball has to offer?
I’ll watch the U.S.A., Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic teams if the timing is right, but that’s about it. This is big boy spring training. Players are concerned about getting hurt. Pitchers are going to be held to strict pitch counts. Managers and coaches don’t want to tick off their counterparts by getting their players hurt.
You will see much better baseball, and much better players, on April 6. Spend your time on something else when the “Classic” is on ESPN.