McDonnell: Nationalism overshadows apathy at World Baseball Classic

From SABR member Wayne McDonnell Jr. at on March 20, 2013:

Since its inaugural tournament in 2006, the World Baseball Classic has been subjected to criticism and mockery from pundits who place little to no value on an ill-timed international competition that takes place during the heart of spring training. To its harshest critics, the World Baseball Classic is merely a series of overhyped and meaningless games that are on par with the quality of play that is normally witnessed during the course of spring training. Besides the obvious matters pertaining to the timing of the event, the World Baseball Classic has also suffered from disappointment and rejection as well.

Instead of having 16 rosters populated with the greatest baseball players from around the world, many elite athletes from the United States have declined the invitation to participate and have decided to remain in spring training camps during the month of March. Whether it was an individual decision or a gentle nudging from the franchise signing their paychecks, the World Baseball Classic has yet to see an American ball club seriously contend during the two and a half week tournament held once every four years. While many of the international ball clubs have assembled outstanding rosters comprised of perennial all-stars playing for nationalism and worldwide superiority, the United States’ overall apathy towards the tournament has clearly spoken volumes in the international baseball community.

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Originally published: March 20, 2013. Last Updated: March 20, 2013.