2013 Reds / Baseball - General

Avoid the WBC, Joey!

Major League Baseball is once again forcing the World Baseball Classic down our collective throats.

For this, we can be most ungrateful. And this “Classic” comes from the same entity that gave us a tied All-Star Game, the designated hitter and day/night doubleheaders. I omit the time Major League Baseball took away Vida Blue from the Reds when Bob Howsam traded Dave Revering and cash to the Oakland A’s for the star lefthanded hurler. That arbitrary decision came directly from then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn.

The World Baseball Classic ( WBC) pits teams from various countries represented by players in MLB that come from that country. Its creation came about not only from MLB but from the International Baseball Federation and the Major League Baseball Players Association after the International Olympic Committee dropped baseball as an Olympic sport in 2005.

So far, Brandon Phillips has committed to playing for Team USA and it has been rumored that Johnny Cueto will pitch for The Dominican Republic and Team Canada is reserving a spot for Joey Votto. These games are to be played this spring before the regular season starts.

Not sure how anyone else thinks about this, but these are my feelings: Be careful Brandon, don’t do it Johnny, and no way Joey.

All of us remember what happened to Johnny Cueto in the first inning of the first playoff game against the Giants. The Reds organization can’t seriously want Cueto pitching in this thing. And with Joey MVP coming off not one but two surgical procedures on his knee last season, I can’t imagine any Reds fan, sane or sober, wanting him to play in these watered-down Olympics, either.

Willie Bloomquist on Team USA? No problem. Joey playing on the Canadian team? Please, God, no.

In case you forgot, Japan is the two-time Classic Champion. Television ratings in Japan for this event are the highest of all-time in Japanese television broadcasting history. Not so much in the USA. And you couldn’t have forgotten about the Cinderella story of the team from The Netherlands did you? Or that there are pitch counts (don’t care), mercy rules (don’t care) and all teams use a designated hitter (they can have it).

Play the spring training games, let Reds coaches look after Reds players, try and avoid injuries, fine tune our team and get ready for Opening Day.

Far be it that Reds fans are not patriotic and want the best of the best to represent Team USA. But this thinly-veiled attempt to conjure up a spirited international competition and sell MLB sanctioned jerseys generates no fervor in Cincinnati or anywhere else in the United States. It’s a well-intentioned idea that misses the target; there’s no “good” time to have these games played and we all know that there’s only one World Series champion and that winning city is either in the USA or Canada.

The World Baseball Classic, such as it is, belongs at the bottom of a long forgotten closet.

19 thoughts on “Avoid the WBC, Joey!

  1. Joey Votto was [i]pissed[/i] that he wasn’t an all-star in.. what was it, 2010? He wanted to play in an exhibition game in the middle of the season and his fans wanted him there. Why would he not represent his country and play, at most, 4 games during the off-season?

    Cueto would be best served to skip, though. Pitchers definitely get the worst of extra games.

  2. <blockquote?And this “Classic” comes from the same entity that gave us a tied All-Star Game, the designated hitter and day/night doubleheaders.
    And the World Series, home runs and the Cincinnati Reds. Very cynical piece.

    • <blockquote?And this “Classic” comes from the same entity that gave us a tied All-Star Game, the designated hitter and day/night doubleheaders.
      And the World Series, home runs and the Cincinnati Reds. Very cynical piece.

      Exactly what I was thinking, minus the problem with the html tags. The World Baseball Classic is something MLB is putting on and without MLB there’d be no Cincinnati Reds or World Series.

      @CaliRedsFan: To your point about it being a positive to represent your country, personally I think it’s kinda embarrassing that Willie Bloomquist is representing the US. Out of all the players from the US he’s the best they could get? Ouch.

      Regarding Brandon Phillips, I think it’s a good opportunity for him. He missed out on an All Star Game and Gold Glove Award last year and I think it’s partially because of other teams seeing him as rude or arrogant. DatDudeBP loves expressing himself and is super popular in Cincinnati but the WBC gives him a rare opportunity to reach a wider audience. The Cincinnati Reds know what they have in Brandon Phillips so there’s nothing for him to prove in spring training.

  3. I swear, I’m the only guy who likes the WBC. I think it’s the greatest thing. I do wish they’d play it at some other time, or that MLB would take a break for it, but I really enjoy the idea. Maybe that’s because I actually saw some of the first-ever games at Petco Park. It was very, very cool to see the Cuban and Japanese fans, enjoying baseball their own way.

  4. Well, this is just silly, even by Redleg Nation standards.

    The WBC may not be the greatest idea in the world. Yes, it’s about making money (just like, you know, every other aspect of professional sports). I’m not thrilled about Cueto’s possible participation, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about any pitcher on my team’s participation. Because they’re pitchers. Not because of the injury. That was months ago and is not a factor.

    As far as Votto, he’s a baseball player, not a Fabrege egg. What’s the difference between him playing in the WBC and him playing in preseason games? Votto’s a relatively slow starter anyway; if anything, playing in more games in March might give him a boost in April.

  5. It’s here and going to be here for the long haul. I agree with your outlook on worrying about our players. I actually enjoy watching it. I do think the organization should have a say if a player is to play in it or not but at the same time think the player should have a say in it as well. You would think a player would not play if he thought it could prohibit him or cost him from missing time in the regular season, they know where they’re bread is buttered.

  6. Totally disagree. Any opportunity you have to represent your country, you should do it. I wish Americans cared more about this kind of thing and were proud like other countries. Instead, we get Yankees fans crying about their players possibly getting hurt and should only play for their “club,” not making their hometown country proud.

    I remember when Mark Cuban said he didn’t want Dirk Nowitzki to play bball for Germany and he just laughed and said, “ummm…I’m playing.” Something similar happened to Alex Ovechkin in hockey and he had a similar reaction. International players get it. They’re proud.

    Of course, I would never want Joey or Johnny taking part if they feel they are not ready for baseball. But they are grown men and I think they should be able to represent their countries to the fullest.

    I’m proud that Phillips decided to play and I look forward to watching him play for USA.

    Btw, this is coming from a biased fan in the fact that I love ANYTHING where countries compete against each other. I think it’s so cool and fun.

  7. The olympics have a long history of corruption and scandal. The WBC makes no hypocritical pretension to amateurism, and, so far, seems to be well run.

    But I love MLB. And MiLB. I don’t need the WBC. The most I hope for is that no ballplayer is seriously hurt.

  8. @Chris Garber: I agree. Outside of team USA, the players seem to love it. Outside of team USA, the fans love it. It’s fun. To quote the always-sage AndyS: The players aren’t Faberge Eggs. It will never be the World Cup, but if the US would buy in it could be a really fun sporting even.

  9. Must agree. Every time I saw Joey running, even at full strength, I got the impression he was but one step from blowing that knee again. Save the playing for MLB, after all, representing one’s country is for the Olympics.

  10. I’d guess one of the reasons fans in other countries are more into the WBC might be because their national leagues are not MLB. Also with world football (soccer) big to dominant in those places the concept of national teams is more deeply rooted.

    I would say that if the Barclay’s (England) Premier League can shut down for 10 day international breaks several times during its “regular season”, there is no reason that couldn’t be done with MLB. Of course then they would have to cut the number of MLB games and that wouldn’t set well with the owners who in the end are funding the WBC….

  11. Then I’m in the minority here, because I agree with the article. The very fact that it is something of a glorified exhibition is why the U.S. will have the Bloomquists of the world in the lineup. To many of the players, it’s not worth the injury risk. If it WERE the Olympics, or of that stature, maybe more players would take part. And in time, if this competition takes hold, maybe a greater percentage of front-line players will want to be a part of it. Until then, it is what it is. A substantial injury here would seem a bit of a waste to me. … Not to say it can’t be entertaining, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the Reds who take part.

  12. I agree with the article also. I hate the thing..period and there is NO ONE on the planet more patriotic than I am. But if I’m a baseball owner who has millions invested in a player…then I want to be the one controlling the game situations where he’s at risk. Could anyone get hurt some other way, sure…but I think this is a cash grab, pure and simple and not worth the risk.

    And that said, MLB also came up with the idea of an exhibition game determining home advantage for the World Series too…

  13. As long as their 100%, I hope everyone who can participate in it does. Baseball got taken out of the Olympics, and this is a great thing to try to make Baseball more popular in the world. The more popular in the world it is, the more people who will start playing it, the larger talent pool of people coming to play MLB here.

    If there was no international popularity for baseball, imagine the Reds being without Chapman, Cueto, Votto, Choo, and more….. They wouldn’t be nearly as talented of a team, right? Those guys all were able to come to America to play baseball because baseball was popular in their countries. Why do you think Football doesn’t have nearly as many players from other countries?

    All in all, I think it’s a great thing when countries all around the world can compete in a sport against each other, while making that sport more popular and thus available for more people to be able to play in their youth and beyond.

  14. People who aren’t the slightest bit cynical are people who get ripped off and victimized by obvious cash grabs (which are cynical in and of themselves). What’s more cynical than putting on a meaningless show in the dead of winter because you know people will pay to watch some baseball?

    If the players are ready to go that early, then let’s start the regular season. If they’re not ready to go, then this isn’t real baseball anyway.

    The stats don’t count. The winner doesn’t really matter. The players are either Willie Bloomquists of the world or stars running at half speed, not diving, etc. The WBC is nothing more than spring training with more flag waving.

    Real baseball starts when the regular season begins. End of story.

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