AT&T Park before Tuesday night's WBC title game (AP)
SAN FRANCISCO — The third World Baseball Classic has come and gone with the Dominican Republic ending Japan's double reign atop the baseball world. Like the two editions before it, the 2013 WBC captured some headlines with exciting games, big television ratings in international markets and, yes, even with some collective apathy from a stubborn American market that remains as unwilling to buy into the tournament as the country's biggest stars.
Despite that big stumbling block, the next WBC is already scheduled for 2017 and MLB executive Tim Brosnan said on Tuesday night that Bud Selig remains "1,000 percent committed" to holding another one. But for the fourth one to be better than the first three, there have to be changes made. So, just like I did in 2009, I'd like to offer a few ways to improve the event for the next time around.
1. Hold this thing in summer already: The World Baseball Classic will never become all that it can be as long as they continue holding it at a time when no one's in top shape and most of the country is busy picking their NCAA brackets. Convincing MLB's owners to stop the season for a week or 10 days in the middle of the season will be a tall order — that's when it's easiest to sell tickets, after all — but there has to be a way, especially if you're OK with the WBC serving as an All-Star alternative every four years. So much of selling a big event is perception and putting the regular season on hold would send a strong message that the WBC is an important event worthy of the casual fan's attention. What's more, this event deserves its own stage, something it's never going to get during March Madness.
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