TORONTO, ON – Can you feel the international excitement in the air? Its that time again and it only comes once every three years:Yes, thatâ€™s right; itâ€™s the World Baseball Classic! Nation vs nation and the fans are really keyed up for this latest extravaganza! Wait, what? Where are they playing? Who is playing? Huh? Obviously, folks in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela and Japan are truly excited about this magilla, and thatâ€™s fine, but here in Los Estados Unidos we are wondering where is my team? Why are there only a bunch of AA players in camp? And please donâ€™t overwork our pitchers!
Consequently, my hopes for the WBC are that Japan and China face off again in the final; the US loses in the first round again and The Dominican and Puerto Rican teams fail early tooâ€¦ Why? Because itâ€™s idiotic to a have pitcher throw â€œmeaningfulâ€ games in March. Their arms are not ready and you can bet your bottom dollar that a bunch will have terrible seasons because they threw their arms out playing for their country. Now, I know what you are sayingâ€¦ Itâ€™s for national pride, and something bigger than MLB! To that, I say nonsense! There is a reason itâ€™s called the WORLD series. It is THE championship of Baseball, period. As much as it hurts me to say, the Phillies are the WORLD champions, not Japan, so get over it. I understand they are trying to make this some kind of World Cup for baseball the way they do in Soccer -where the top players on all the professional teams don their nation’s jerseys to do battle for a truly global event that is the real grand prize of its sport. The WBC ain’t that folks, so get over it. If they really must run this silly farce of an event maybe it should take place in say December or January, fans in this country are starved for baseball and it wouldnâ€™t mess up the spring training preparation necessary to prepare for the 162 game grind. Interrupting spring training is ridiculous and cannot be allowed to continue. All those in favor of the WBC, let me ask you this: Who is your favorite team? Your real team (the MLB one) or the one your country is fielding? Lemme guess, itâ€™s the MLB team. Now, how are you going to feel when you notice your ace is having problems with his velocity and breaks down late in the season as a result of his participation in the WBC? You donâ€™t like that scenario much do you? Yeah, me neitherâ€¦
Dude, you ignorant slut. Baseball needs a world stage to promote itself and this is its forum. How can our pastime call its playoff victors â€œWorld Championsâ€ unless players are truly from around the globe? International competitions are the best sports have to offer and the more nations adopt baseball, the better the game will get. So get out of your ivory tower, Dude. The WBC isnâ€™t looking to supplant the Fall Classic, itâ€™s simply another venue to see the sport played at a high level.
Look at what the Olympics does for Track and Field, Gymnastics, Figure and Speed Skating, Boxing, and Skiing. International events like the Olympics bring out the very best in each sport and the World Baseball Classic is no different. In light of baseball being relegated to an â€œexhibitionâ€ event at the Olympics, the WBC is more important than ever. The World Cupâ€™s popularity is unprecedented but it never detracts from the Championships League, the Premiership, the Bundesliga, La Liga or any other great league. The glory of playing for your nation far outweighs any time missed at MLB Spring Training. Additionally, the event will be quadrennial after 2009 so it only interrupts Spring Training once every 4 years. And to those of you who argue that the fans at the Grapefruit and Cactus league games are missing out on seeing star athletes â€“ tough crap. Most of the starters donâ€™t play with regularity anyway; at least not until the last week or so and all of the returning players are back from the World Baseball Classic at that point. Only a mere generation ago, baseball was the most popular sport in America. Today it has been completely supplanted by the NFL and toils as a distant 2nd with basketball nipping at itsâ€™ heels. If baseball isnâ€™t aggressive internationally we can expect soccer will steal many more hearts and minds. So, for now, weâ€™ll give you your gripe, Dude, if only because we wonâ€™t have to hear your drivel again until 2013. Hopefully by then, youâ€™ll have seen the light.
Weâ€™re not often at odds with Dude or any of our faithful. In fact, the spirit of teamwork and cooperation vaulted our Marmar Cnoc Pub Trivia team to itâ€™s highest ever score this Tuesday at the Piperâ€™s Kilt. Dude, Tall Matt, Grote2DMax, kpf, Mrs. Matt and jgclancy nailed a season high 89 but unfortunately, 3 other teams scored the same and we came in last in the tiebreaker â€“ â€œWhat year did the Lateran Treaty officially make Vatican City an independent nation?â€ 1929, for those who care.
Other fumbles were: (answers below)
1. Who briefly reigned as the leader of the Soviet Union before Mikhail Gorbachev?
2. What Epoch are we currently living in?
3. What is Yerevan the capital of?
Sams-a-fan (who owes us a Pub Trivia visit) tomorrow.