Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do Americans really not care about the World Baseball Classic?

Some schmo from Fox Sports writes, "[American ballplayers] don't want to interrupt their spring training. And what makes it easy for them is that the American fans don't care."

Oh really? You have evidence for that? American baseball fans don't care, or American fans of bowling? I'll give you the latter, but surely you've researched this issue, right? Conducted a couple interviews at least? Asked a son, spouse, neighbor... someone?

Oh... it appears not.

In fact, it appears you attempted to support your claim by doing absolutely nothing except reiterating your claim, thus making it completely groundless and, because you wrote about 600 words around the claim, a complete and utter waste of time.

Also, you wrote, "Face it, the American failure in the initial WBC didn't cause any angst among fans." But why should it have caused angst? So many MLB players are spread over so many countries that it's easy to root for, say, Venezuela. What, are you expecting an international rivalry? Okay. But you think Dice-K Matsuzaka would ever brush back Kevin Youkilis?

Also, if it's a rivalry you want, I suggest you petition MLB to invite the teams from China and Chinese Taipei to the tournament. Trust me.

Also, the WBC is a very nice event, and while one can't quite laud it as "awesome" just yet, the idea's certainly in the right place, and let's remember that it's only been played once. And that one time, it was slapped together sort of last-minute. Are you really so ready to bury the idea so soon?

Also: What if Americans care less, on average, than Latin American baseball fans? Isn't that sort of true about American attitudes towards just about anything international? Americans care less about the Olympics. They care less about World Summit meetings. They care less about soccer (well, duh). This is not a new phenomenon, and this isn't necessarily a bad thing. This country's affluence enables the entertainment and sports industry to offer the public many choices as far as how to whittle away the day's long hours, and we should be grateful for that.

ALSO, "caring less" about an event doesn't mean appreciating it less. One could be indifferent about Team USA's win-loss record but still watch a few games and enjoy the heck out of them. And any sports fan should be able to appreciate the beauty of competition and a good game. In addition, there's a certain appeal to watching a tournament without a real strong rooting interest. It makes life easier, breezier, and if you think not, pop another beer, my friend, because baseball in March is supposed to be fun. Personally, I'll be saving my angst for college basketball teams ruining my bracket.

POSTSCRIPT: It's not like Team U.S.A.'s looking bad: Chipper Jones and David Wright, Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Youkilis, Grady Sizemore, ace John Lackey -- they're all in. Instead of listing a bunch of guys who "turned down" the chance to play, as the Fox Sports columnist does, why not look at them as guys who failed to make the cut. As we know, baseball players need daily reps, and if you know you'll be spending two weeks in a platoon situation, maybe it is better to just stick with your spring training routine, save everyone the fuss. The U.S. has a competitive roster though, and it's going to be a fun tournament.

1 comment:

  1. Tracy Ringolsby is a hack who says whatever is on his mind whether its true or not. He and I had a heated e-mail exchange a few years back about an article that was maybe 20% true about the Royals and in the end he still didn't correct the article or acknowledge that I was correct. He has a job because of the good ol' boys network and that's it.