In Defense Of The World Baseball Classic

Tonight, the World Baseball Classic finally kicks off with Korea taking on Chinese Taipei in the Tokyo Dome. First pitch is at 9:30 ET, but unless you have ESPN Deportes, you'll have to wait until 1:30 a.m. to watch a tape-delay on ESPN2. (Right afterwards, Japan plays China on ESPN2 live, if you happen to not be able to sleep for whatever reason, Belushi.)

The conventional wisdom in the U.S. about the WBC is that it's a waste of time, poorly organized, an injury risk and nothing but a money-making scheme, all of which are probably true but, ultimately, kind of beside the point. It is generally accepted that the event will be a much bigger deal outside the U.S. than it is here, and that makes sense, but we won't lie to you: For all its contrivance and artificial nature, we're still going to watch this and, frankly, we're kind of excited for it.

We know it's not a real competition, and we don't think it will crown a true champion. But so what? It's Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Alfonso Soriano in the same lineup. It's Roger Clemens pitching against people from South Africa. Jeez ... it's baseball on TV in March! We just watched a three-hour exhibition Yankees-Phillies game where one guy was wearing a jersey with about 28 digits on its back, just because it was baseball on TV. We don't care how full of it Bud Selig and company might be. You're not gonna watch this? Really? (Assuming, of course, you don't have to, you know, work at 4 p.m. in the afternoon.)

There are still countless wrinkles to be ironed out in this thing, but you have to start somewhere, right? Even though this isn't really for us, the Americans, isn't it kind of fun anyway? Anybody? Are we crazy?

By the way: No way the U.S. wins.

World Baseball Classic [MLB.com]
World Baseball Classic Is Anything But [Sportszilla]