On Friday, it was reported that Brad Lidge, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels all will not compete in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The sad part is that I can't blame these three for skipping the tournament.
I want to care about the WBC. I want to throw my support behind the US team like I do with the Olympics. I want to see this tournament succeed because the idea of the WBC is fantastic and as a baseball fanatic, the idea of watching different countries play against one another should excite me.
However, this tournament fails to excite me in any way.
For one thing, it's impossible to become engulfed in a tournament that employs different standards than the MLB. Since the tournament takes place in March, pitchers are not properly stretched out to go longer than a few innings at a time. It's no fun watching a battle of the bullpens, especially when the games are supposed to be competitive. Besides the players on the field, there is little difference between WBC games and spring training games.
Who would you rather watch pitch, Dan Wheeler or Jake Peavy?
Also, as a Mets fan, I cringe watching the guys on my team play in this tournament. Instead of cheering for the United States, I find myself cheering for my guys not to get hurt. Because in the end, this tournament is still an exhibition, a precursor of sorts for the upcoming baseball season. If David Wright hurts himself playing for the US team, I would be beside myself.
A tournament like this has so much potential to succeed, but timing is everything. I'm sure playing in March will excite some fans because hey, baseball is baseball, but this tournament will never interest me as long as it is played in March.