Hey, it’s not just cynical jerks like me who don’t like the WBC. Even those who are said to embrace it the most have their qualms:
But the off-the-field contest between the two most powerful ball-playing nations — Japan and the U.S. — is a subject that Japanese league administrators and team management, local liaisons, players’ union representatives and tournament officials prefer to discuss without being named.
That’s because the World Baseball Classic, billed as a springboard for further spreading the reach of America’s “national pastime” is viewed by suspicious insiders as something else: a fishing expedition and trial expansion by Major League Baseball, the U.S. organizer of the event. One Japanese sports professor and team adviser wonders aloud whether the tournament “is for showing the best of baseball to the world — or just making it easier for scouting the best that can be brought to America?”
As far as Americans are concerned it’s moot for the next four years, but I’m not even lying when I say that I’d be way more behind the WBC if someone came out and admitted that this was a big sham designed to grease the skids for even more foreign players to come to the U.S. and ply their trade in Major League Baseball. That would at least make more sense than a once every four years tournament even the biggest supporters of which acknowledge doesn’t pit the best against the best. Major League Baseball comes the closest to that promise, and it would be way easier to ratchet up the talent and competition of the Majors to where it approximates the optimal than it would be to rejigger the WBC for the next 16 years and fail miserably.
(thanks to Pete Toms for the heads up)