When I think of the word, "classic", I think of something that's been around for a long time and has great significance. I know classic can also mean that something belongs in the highest rank or class, but when used in a sports context, it usually means something, well, larger. Obviously the first thought that comes to mind is the fall classic.
So when Bud Selig and company got together and dreamed up the World Baseball Classic, I wondered, what makes this so classic?
Honestly, it might sound pessimistic, but I'm really not that excited about this tournament. I'm more afraid of it than anything. The A's have Esteban Loaiza, Kirk Saarloos, Huston Street and Eric Chavez listed on the current rosters. In addition, Danny Haren is listed for both the Netherlands AND the United States. Marco Scutaro is also listed on the roster for both Italy and Venezuela.
Haren has already stated in a recent Susan Slusser article that he will not be participating in the event because he wants to do the prudent thing and concentrate on getting ready for the 2006 season. I wish the rest of the A's players will do the same. Let A-Fraud go play third base. Let someone else pitch for the Dutch team than Saarloos. Leave our closer free to come to Phoenix.
Yes, I know it's good exposure for the game around the world and it would be very exciting to see a U.S. and Dominican Republic matchup, but honestly, I don't care who wins this tournament. Al Michaels won't be screaming "Do you believe in miracles? YESSSS!" at the end of this tournament (unless maybe the Chinese team wins).
So I approach this "classic" with trepidation. I hope Chavez never sees the field. I hope Scot Shields, Chad Cordero and Brad Lidge keep Street in the pen. The A's may have more depth than in seasons past, but they don't need to start off the season with their five-time gold glover sidelined, their closer on the DL and their new starting pitcher on ice. On the other hand, maybe that level of competition would mean Chavy would get his early season struggles out of the way in the tournament? Maybe Street gets a new level of confidence facing a team like the Dominican Republic? And maybe Kirk Saarloos will learn to be an ace due to his place on the Netherlands team? Yeah, that's the ticket.
I wanted to get a sense whether I was alone in this feeling about the WBC. Or if AN feels the same way. I added a front page poll for you to weigh in.