Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
I wasn't in support of the idea when it first came around, but I've been giving it at least a bit of attention. I think the idea is certainly intriguing, but I think the organization of the WBC has been all wrong. In fact, I believe the Classic takes place a month too late. At this point in time, everyone is wrapped up with spring training, and sports fans in general are of course focusing on the NCAA Basketball Tournament and March Madness. So, instead of watching the U.S. vs. Korea (or Mexico, or whoever) at 8PM in prime time on ESPN, the game either is televised at one in the afternoon, or is tape delayed and broadcast at 3AM. Why not start the Classic the week after the Super Bowl concludes, and have it last for the duration of February? Is there really another conflict in February - the NBA All Star game? Winter leagues could end their seasons in January, and major league teams would still have access to their most prized players (and the players that provide the biggest draws at the gate) throughout March for spring games. And much like the World Cup is run now, the Classic should only take place every 4th year, to keep interest up (and I'd recommend any year other than '06/'10/etc. to avoid the inevitable Olympic conflict. It's a nice idea, now it's time to tweak the system and make it worthwhile long term.
Mark Anderson, Minor League Editor
Much to my surprise, I'm quite pleased with the inaugural WBC. I was very skeptical at first, wondering about the quality of baseball we would actually see, as well as risk of injuries for players who are seeing more time on the field than they would in an early spring training game. For the most part, it appears that the players came ready to play significant amounts. I thought I would be interested in the WBC in more of a passing fashion. Instead, I've found myself sitting down and watching many of the games, and even making time to watch some of them. The passion displayed by the players, and just the exciting brand of baseball has been wonderful. I've been drawn to watching the Cuban team leave everything they have on the field at every instant, and the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rican teams displaying the level of talent that is spewing out of those tiny countries. It's been an exciting and action packed tournament so far, and I just hope it continues through the end. It's not something I'd want to endure every spring, but something like the World Cup, where it is played every four years, could be very exciting, and something I might look forward to.
Jason Avery, Amateur Baseball Editor
I like the WBC and the intensity it brings to the field. The managers have been good about getting the players their regular work in, so when they return to spring training, they won't be behind. The only problem I have is the time of year that it takes place, and if the WBC is going to be played every few years, I think it would be best to have a break during the season like the NHL does with the Olympics. Another alternative would be to stage the WBC after the World Series, but one would have to wonder how much energy the players would have after a long season, especially if they played in the postseason, not to mention the innings thrown by pitchers. I'm enjoying the play so far, but the WBC does need to be tweaked.
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