With the USA 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, the two and a half week baseball carnival known as the World Baseball Classic is over.
Admittedly, before the tournament began my excitement level was not very high. Once the games actually started and the increased intensity of the games became apparent as compared to the regular spring training games taking place in Arizona and Florida, my interest level was increased. Seeing guys compete for their country is way more exciting than seeing the elite players only for two at-bats or so, and then watching kids who will be at AA for most of the season, which is typically what spring training is about.
The excitement of the WBC games was the perfect appetizer to give any fanatic of baseball just enough high-quality action and drama since opening day cannot get here soon enough. The first round match up between the United States and Dominican Republic where the Americans blew a 5-0 lead and lost 7-5, could have confused anyone who watched it into thinking it was October instead of March. The Orioles Adam Jones’ catch against his teammate Manny Machado in the USA and Dominican Republic rematch to see who would advance to the semifinals could be the baseball catch of the year and the season hasn’t even started yet.
Even though some teams might not like their players playing in the event because of risk of injury before the season starts, the tournament happens exactly when it should before opening day. Players are just as likely to get hurt in their spring training games as they are in the WBC. Baseball got way more attention this March than usual spring training games do. Opening day is only two weeks away, but in some small way it feels like the baseball season has already begun because of the WBC.
The 2021 World Baseball Classic is going to have a hard time topping this years but the baseball world can’t wait.