Wow! What a tournament the World Baseball Classic put on. Yo Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, still think the WBC is a pointless exhibition? Tell that to the guys who actually played. The passion these players have been playing with is amazing to watch. Watching Team USA win its first WBC championship is exactly what this tournament needed. Baseball is America’s past time, yet nearly every American could give less of a shit about the tournament. On top of that, the US has never won the tournament nor have they ever reached the final round. But this year was different. This year was magical. I’m still half-chubbed thinking about our last three wins knocking off powerhouse Dominican Republic, 2-time champion Japan, and finally a win over undefeated Puerto Rico to win our first ever World Baseball Championship.
I’m an advocate of making baseball fun again. Lately, the stigma around the MLB is that it’s boring. Long games. No drama. Less passion. Selfish playing. I can’t stand it.
Flip on a WBC game and these guys are pounding their chest, grabbing their dicks, and celebrating every run all in the name of their representative country. And the fans have been loving it. This year’s attendance set record-highs as a battle of baseball cultures were showcased every game. When Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic to advance the championship round, the fans went crazy; celebrating like they won the entire tournament. Not only that, hundreds of fans were waiting outside of the locker room to celebrate when the team came out. Now go and watch any of Japan’s first six games and entire stadiums were sold-out. Fans were banging drums, playing flutes in unison to show how Asian’s ball. Players were celebrating every hit, run, and win like their playing careers depended on it. Incredible to think about how much a game means to these players, fans, and cultures compared to the United States.
For me, I was ecstatic to watch Team ‘Merica in this year’s tournament; however, when I expressed my passion to others they just kind of chuckled, and I see where they were coming from. Why should they care when some of America’s best players didn’t? Harper, Trout, Donaldson, Kershaw, and Betts all chose to skip out on the tournament and essentially persuaded American fans to do the same. Well fuck them, because during the last two games, those same friends were glued to the tv, yelling every pitch like we were back in our college dugouts. So much for a classless exhibition tournament, huh? So, hats-off to Team USA and the WBC for reigniting the American passion for baseball.
My point is that if the MLB wants to attract younger fans to baseball, they’re going to have to take a note from the WBC. Passion breeds passion. When a team is collectively wanting to beat the shit out of another, that’s when the game gets fun. Take the example of Rougned Odor throwing a 1-2 combo on Jose Batista last year. What happened after? Millions of views on YouTube and all of sudden fans are watching baseball again. All tournament long this year, highlights were repeatedly played over all media forms. Walk-off hits, monster bombs, Yadier Molina hosing runners, Javier Baez’s no-look tag, and Adam Jones robbing a homerun to save the game. Fans, especially young fans, are seeing the highlights and are reminded why baseball is fun and why they should give a shit once again.
Salute to the World Baseball Classic this year, we’ll see you again in 2021 as the U S of A looks to defend the title.
USA! USA! USA!