This years edition of the World Baseball Classic is in full swing and its time to sit back and enjoy. The tournament doesn’t come without its flaws and as Americans it’s easy to point those out. But baseball has set the stage for a great worldwide competition.
Undeniable support from Latin countries
The playoff type atmosphere in Miami and Mexico was an absolute joy to watch. The Latin countries play for pride and each fan base is completely passionate toward their countries baseball club. The Domincan Republic fans completely sold out Marlins Park for every pool play game. Likewise, in Mexico where the Puerto Rican and Venezuelan fan base have had the chance to enjoy great baseball with both teams advancing to the next round.
The Cuban national team, formerly a world powerhouse, has been damaged by the defections of talent to Major League Baseball. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Cuban fans traveled to Japan for the opening and second rounds yet the passion was still evident. After an eighth inning error cost the team a run to Japan, tears were shed by several team members in the dugout.
Unites States at a seasonal disadvantage
The timing will never be great for the United States to field a team of their top talent. The investment from big league clubs also makes it difficult for Star players to participate. This years roster seems to enjoy the underdog status to the Dominicans. As Colin Garner pointed out yesterday, the Americans are at a talent disadvantage to the D.R.
Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominicans have participated all offseason in the winter leagues. The Caribbean World Series, populated by these countries’ teams, has a World Series type atmosphere. Most of these players are in mid season form, not ramping up intensity like the Americans.
Enjoy the passion and pageantry
The United States is still alive and kicking, but moving onto another difficult round. Puerto Rico and Domincan Republic have All Star type rosters. Venezuelans have the opportunity to start Felix Hernandez. This won’t be an easy test for advancement to the semifinals.
Instead of finding everything that’s wrong with the tournament, try to enjoy the fact that the world views this much more differently than the U.S.
Thanks for reading