Tha Sports Junkies 101

Is the World Baseball Classic killing MLB?

World Baseball Classic Image via Sportsgraphics36


The Effects the World Baseball Classic has on the MLB

After four to five months of the off-season, MLB players are given about two months to get back into shape and shake off the rust. Most of the time. Every four years, the World Baseball Classic (WBC) rolls around.

Players get the chance to compete for their home or descended country along with 15 other nations. A majority of the players for the tournament play in their country, but sprinkled in among them are their best players who made it to The Show.

A tournament of 16 countries with the best baseball players in the world. The MLB players get the chance face the best the world has to offer, a great way to shake off the rust quickly and be ready to come back to the States and play MLB ball. So what’s the problem?

It’s in the first week of March: only the second week of Spring Training.

The Problem With The WBC

The purpose of Spring Training is to find a rhythm, a pace, for players to ease their way back into that high level of competition so they can be 100 percent ready for April.

The problem with the WBC is it throws the MLB players right into that high intensity competition. It plays out almost a full month before their bodies are used to. Of course, no one is forcing these players to compete, some choose to skip out, but what’s Team USA without Buster Posey or Paul Goldschmidt? Or Team Venezuela without Miguel Cabrera or Jose Altuve? Or Team Netherlands without Xander Bogaerts and Kenley Jansen?

Again, no one is forcing them. But these players are playing for more than just the chance to face the best of the best, but playing for their country. Their pride in their native nation.

Manny Machado will be playing for Team Dominican Republic to honor his late mother and grandfather.

“I think it’s something that my family always wanted (to see). My mom and my grandfather, who is resting in peace, he always wanted to see me play for the Dominican. That’s where we come from. That’s where my family was born. I think I am doing this for my mom and my family more than anything else. I know they want to see me wear that uniform and see me out there. So it’s going to be fun for them and for me.”

It’s More Than Just A Tournament

But at the end of the day, managers still fear their ace shipping out to Japan to pitch his hardest before he’s used to it, or their star slugger going to Cuba to increase his chance of straining his hamstring.

For the viewers, though, the World Baseball Classic is a gift from God himself. Like mentioned before: baseball played at high intensity among the best the world has to offer in a 16 team tournament.

Considering there isn’t really a perfect time to hold this tournament, the current time it is held seems to be the best place to put it. Compared to literally any other time of year.

Managers also forget the fact that this tournament only takes place every four years. If it were every year, the conversation would be different. But players aren’t leaving their teams’ camps early every year.