World Baseball Classic 2009


World Baseball Classic

I received an email this morning informing me that I would be able to purchase tickets to the World Baseball Classic at the Toronto site before the general public.  With baseball support in Toronto what it is I am not surprised.

This email, however, caused me to reflect on a number of different aspects concerning the WBC.  Namely, the Olympics, the format and the strain on pitchers.

The Olympics:
Baseball has seen its last year at the Summer Olympics.  I, for one, have no remorse. Olympic baseball is boring.  As far as I can tell nobody watches it, which is likely because with Major League Baseball’s emphasis on international players it follows that most of the world’s finest, with the exception of some players from Japan, already compete in an internationally televised format.  That Major Leaguers, as professional athletes, should not be in the Olympics follows nicely for me.  Don’t be upset baseball fans – what should be angering you is Women’s Softball and its absence from the 2012 games.  There is hardly a tournament on the planet as broad for women softeballers and they should be outraged that its gone.

The Format:
What I’m really talking about here is the geographical setup.  Kudos to the organizers for letting the first round pan out globally.  That increases the international viewership for the tournament as a whole.  I can’t wait to watch the Canadian squad play upset to America once again. 

The Strain on Pitchers:
So, its not all positive.  The WBC places pitchers in the position where they may have to pitch quite intensively when they should be loosening up in their prospective Spring Training venues.  Unless WBC managers can moderate pitch counts I can understand why Major League managers hold back some of their better arms.  While there are a number of solutions to this problem, nothing will pacify a manager if they lose a top arm to a major injury while that player is participating in a tournament that essentially means nothing to the team.

That being said, viva le WBC!



  1. mlbmark

    “Baseball has seen its last year at the Summer Olympics.”

    Hi, thanks for blogging here. Just to correct that statement a bit, baseball is temporarily off the list for 2012 and appears likely to be back for 2016.

    That is a link to my story on after an exclusive with Jacques Rogge during a medal game. I will be shocked if it’s not back for 2016 based on our conversation and discussions with other IOC sources. There is no guarantee as only two sports will be added back, but to say it’s the “last year” is incorrect. And at this point I fully expect Chicago will get the Games (Japan official just noted that Obama likely will sway the vote at Copenhagen), where using top Major Leaguers will be easier on everyone.

    We’ll get it back. Happy blogging,


  2. Byrne

    Thanks for the correction Mark!!
    It does, however, cause me some distress. As a Canadian I have enjoyed watching our Olympic squad, comprised mostly of NHLers, compete since 1998. I do, however, view their presence at the Olympics as a bit of a contradiction – should we allow professionals? What does that do to the Olympic experience?

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