When I was at the winter meetings earlier this month, Major League Baseball spent a few minutes by taking over Bellagio's media workroom, dimming the lights and showing this video from the '06 World Baseball Classic.
Since it was too dark to find a path to the door, we had no choice but to sit through the five-minute ode to the debut of baseball's world tournament. But in perhaps the upset of the year, I found myself actually enjoying the clips of the cheering crowds, the key plays and unabashed patriotism in some of the stadiums.
In short: It was everything that I didn't remember the WBC, you know, actually being when it was happening. The highlights made me make a vow to actually pay attention this spring during the second go-round.
However, after reading my man Jeff Passan's piece about the disinterest that many U.S. players pay toward the WBC, I feel like I'm again drowning in ambivalence toward the event that MLB wants to turn into the World Cup.
After all, if our top American players don't care about avenging a second-round booting in '06, why should we? If guys like CC Sabathia or Ryan Howard don't think Bud Selig's pet project is important enough to suspend spring training, why should we change our routine, either?
Obviously, though, there are still enough reasons to be interested if you want to be. Alex Rodriguez is playing, albeit for the Dominican Republic, which opens the door for David Wright. Ryan Braun and Grady Sizemore give middle America reasons to care. And with guys like Ichiro and Dice-K already committed, the Japanese team looks in it to win it again after taking the inaugural trophy. Perhaps they could play the role of the Soviet hockey team.
We'll be debating the level of attention the Stew should pay to the WBC in coming weeks, but with about two months remaining until we start shaking things up again, I'd like your opinion on one issue: Does it bother you when Americans say thanks, but no thanks to the country that is hungry for their representation? Why or why not?