World Baseball Classic controversy: Most fans love the WBC, others want to shut it down
You either love it or you hate it. Luckily, most baseball fans are thrilled with their version of the World Cup. Let’s not forget, the World Series is only between MLB teams
Let’s just start by saying that I love the World Baseball Classic. I know how big this sport is in countries outside the US and not only in Central America. It’s huge in Asia and growing fast in Europe. The stories about the Czech Republic team and the sacrifices they had to make to get to the WBC are incredible. Reading about how players for Italy and Israel got to know their roots and learn more about their heritage while representing countries their ancestors came from is heart-warming.
These games have been exciting with some of the best players in the world representing their countries with sold-out stadiums and lines of people waiting to buy merchandise to show their patriotic pride. My question is what’s wrong with that?
What the haters say about the negative side of the WBC
Political pundit Keith Olbermann loves fanning the flames in an attempt to look smart and smug as he tries to get more likes and visits. He doesn’t care about the game outside of the US and all he is supposedly worried about is the health of the players and the insurance policies of the MLB clubs.
As if players don’t get hurt in Spring training. Baseball is a tough game and unfortunately players get hurt. Throwing a baseball is hard on shoulders and elbows and the WBC organization included pitch limits to help protect the pitchers. What the haters don’t understand is that Spring Training can take its toll on players too. This tournament hasn’t been played since 2017 and fans all over the world had been looking forward to it since then.
What the players say about playing at the 2023 WBC
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow explains why he wants to play in the next World Baseball Classic. “The ability to play for your [national] team is insane. If you do only live one life, you do kind of have to collect your deathbed tokens and looking back on having the opportunity to play in the World Baseball Classic and you don’t because you’re afraid of whatever, when the workloads are really the same, it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said in an interview with Talkin Baseball.
The Team USA players have been very clear about how excited they are to represent their country and what every at-bat, what every game means to them. “This is the funnest experience I’ve had on the baseball field to represent your country. It’s been a blast. Obviously there’s risk involved. You’re still playing baseball in Spring Training. Being a part of this atmosphere. It’s special. It means a lot to me. I knew going in it was going to be a fun time, but I never knew it was going to be this fun,” he said.
To conclude, seeing this emotion and what it means to these players, I think it’s arrogant and unfair to ask them not to do it. It’s like telling telling the players what they can and can’t do and that they have to play on the terms dictated by people like Keith Olbermann. Anyone who has played baseball knows how tedious it can be. I mean, these guys play 162 games a year not counting Spring Training and playoffs. Let’s let them have some fun and take some swings for their countries.