Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox has just announced that he will not be participating in the World Baseball Classic that is going to take place in a matter of days. This marks the 750,000th Major League Baseball player, most of them Americans, to beg out of the tournament. The World Baseball Classic is an event that is much like soccer’s World Cup in which all the countries in the world will pit their national baseball team against each other. When I first heard of this I thought it might be a cool thing to see because I am a baseball fan before everything else. I also realized pretty quickly that the US team is not necessarily a lock to win this thing. We may think we have the best ball players in the world, but we aren’t the only country that has great players.
This was going to be a great tournament and all the best players in the major leagues were going to participate. The tournament was going to take place during what would normally be a MLB team’s spring training. Many team owners and other higher ups were surely pounding their heads when they saw that their best players were going to play in this tournament and perhaps risk a season ending injury. I also realized this possibility, but it seemed like no one really cared and everyone was ready to go.
Then the other shoe fell. One by one all these great players started to bow out. Everyday for the last two or three weeks you would hear of a player backing out. Now it seems like what once looked like a tournament featuring the best of the best will now feature some great players and who knows what else.
I understand the fear of losing a player to injury. I wouldn’t want the best player on my favorite team to go down to injury. I also understand most Americans do not care about this tournament. MLB is basically doing this to grow the sport in foreign countries anyway. I just wanted to see the true best of the best go at it. I wanted to see if the US really did have the best players in the world. I believe that most other countries are taking this tournament a little more serious than the US. I think foreign players and their countries are excited and proud to be involved, while the US players do not see it as a big deal.
I see it as a big deal and I hope the tournament goes over well with everyone. I hope that it will take place in the future and for many years to come. What I really hope is that the US team does not win the tournament and maybe the next time we have it that more players will be willing and ready to play for their country. Then it truly will be a World Classic.