Is the WBC Good For Baseball?

Barry Bonds is not playing, should Derrek Lee and Company join suit?

As we all know Barry Bonds announced on Monday that he has decided not to play in the World Baseball Classic in March. Is he being selfish or realistic? The radio waves have been burning with the talk of Bonds dropping out….how many others will follow his lead? Bonds cited his concern for the success of the Giants upcoming season as the reason for his departure from Team USA. We already know Ryan Dempster has done the same, turning down his spot on Team Canada.

Jayson Stark ran a good article on about this subject on Tuesday and he hits home on several accounts. Between all of the Hot Stove talk on XM Radio, the talk of the WBC has filled their air space this off-season….but is XM just plugging the investment it has already made?

I am not getting into the politics associated with the games, that is not my place. This is a tournament that could benefit baseball, but is this the right time for the games to take place? From a baseball fan’s perspective, I am looking forward to the games. The lineups that will be on the field could be historical. I remember the first USA Basketball ‘Dream Team’ and if baseball handles this properly, these games could have the same lasting affect. Baseball has never taken a break for the Olympics and probably never will, so this is as close as we will ever come to seeing Major League Players in international competition.

With the outlandish salaries, money and pressure on today’s players, my concern is the affect this tournament could have on a team’s season. I listen to Buck Martinez every morning and his level of excitement is contagious, but I think I’m looking more forward to the regular Spring Training games, then the WBC. Can you imagine if Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano or Aramis Ramirez were to get hurt during these games? What affect would losing one of those players have on a questionable Cubs season? How would George react to losing his new $13 million dollar man? The Brewers are reluctantly allowing Ben Sheets to play in the games. The Brewers are concerned about the highly competitive Sheets to being able to ease into the games and further injuring himself and effecting the Brewers upcoming season. There are many teams that have requested their players not participate in the games.

But who is right? I do not think there is a good time to play the WBC. There is a tremendous excitement about the games. Martinez said on Friday morning that the games in San Diego have already sold out. He said a typical World Series issues around 1500 media credentials and there have already been over 3500 issued for the WBC. I got on Ebay to see what the tickets were going for….and WOW…. could not believe it.

Baseball is enjoying a level of success that the game has never seen. Through the whole steroid controversy, the game did not only survive it thrived and while I have issues with the way the game is being run, apparently someone is doing their job. The WBC could be a huge success, but if not handled properly, it could leave another lasting scar on the game we all love.

Another report from John Donovan on concerning the WBC

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax