This past weekend start the first of many games of the third installment of the World Baseball Classic.
The Classic features many of the world’s finest baseball players competing from as many as 16 countries (which is actually more like 24 due to a new format put in this year’s version) for the right to be called the best baseball team in the world.
All eyes were likely on Japan and China last week, as Pool’s A and B opened up play. Two-time defending champion Japan is once again listed as the front-runner to win the tournament, specifically due to the old saying “in order to be the champ, you have to beat the champ.”
Through the first three games of Pool A action, Cuba has shown to be the team to beat. They’ve gone unbeaten and polished off Japan 6-3 just a few days ago.
The two remaining pools will get underway this weekend as the U.S. Team will battle with the likes of Mexico, Italy and Canada in Pool D starting Thursday at Chase Field in Arizona.
You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but ever since the first pitch was thrown last week, I’ve been watching almost every game that’s been on TV. Why? Because with the fairly little free time that I have, watching live baseball games at 3 a.m. seems like a good idea.
It also helps when I go through bouts of insomnia from time to time, but that’s another story.
I have loved the idea of the World Baseball Classic ever since it started in 2006. It wasn’t very well received at first, as news reports about players having to play meaningful games while still in “Spring Training Mode” for the upcoming season circulated through the news wires.
Ultimately, however, baseball fans ended up with a pretty good tournament, even though the U.S. team was one of the first eliminated in pool play.
The second Classic was a little better than the first. The U.S. team and all of its followers were hoping for a better showing. They didn’t play badly, but it didn’t go so well. They were again eliminated early on.
I was all too excited when 2012 came around, watching schedules and hoping for the Classic to get started in March, only to be disappointed when I saw a report stating the tournament, like the Olympics, will now be played every four years.
Anyhow, I think it’s a pretty exciting time to be a baseball fan. The creation of the WBC tournament being played in March means fans don’t have to wait until April for the Major League Baseball season to start playing its own meaningful games.
The games are meaningful right now in the WBC, creating an atmosphere much akin to the World Cup in soccer or either of the two Olympic Games.
You only get one chance to watch these games, so make the most of them. I’m making the most of this year’s tournament by making sure my DVR records every single game, whether I’m watching the game or not.
Because really, what else is there for a baseball junky to do during baseball season. Watch more baseball!
Enjoy the WBC, and go team U.S.A.