Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
To be honest, I could do without the World Baseball Classic, but I'm not going to campaign or rally against it. The fact is, I don't believe a team's spring training routine and regimen should be interrupted to play a round of exhibition games. Plus, it discourages travel to spring training destinations as most people make the trek to see their favorite stars - the same stars that are expected to be playing in the game. There is no ideal way to handle a world baseball competition with such a short offseason to begin with, but with many players having time to play fall or winter ball, plus offseason workouts, there's no reason the competition couldn't happen right now, in mid-January, and conclude well before spring training begins. But even then, players won't feel their ready, won't have received adequate offseason rest, etc. If the goal is to have a true international competition, why not stretch the All-Star break to a week, and have a tournament held then. It's a nice idea, but ultimately, if it disappeared, I wouldn't be shedding any tears.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I don't know that I'm really excited, but I am looking forward to it in some capacity. Its never too early to see some high-level baseball, and the WBC gives us an opportunity to see that a little earlier than normal. The first installment of the WBC gave some highlight reel moments and some passionate performance, along with exposure to many baseball players who have now become prominent fixtures in the Major Leagues. The important thing to keep in mind when considering the WBC is that this isn't intended to be a replacement for Olympic baseball, or anything of the sort. It is simply a competition that is trying to generate revenue and entertainment; something it should succeed in doing with ease. There is risk or injury for players, but in the grand scheme I trust that most players have started the appropriate preparations early enough to avoid minor or nagging injuries that may hamper their return to their respective MLB clubs. The increased innings on pitchers arms are also of concern, but in the first trial of this event, most coaches demonstrated some restraint in over-utilizing pitchers. If this remains the case in 2009, I think the WBC will be a success, and I will enjoy some extremely passionate, and prideful baseball earlier in the year.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm excited about it because no baseball tournament has this kind of talent or excitement, particularly in the other countries that are participating. Even though the games are played during spring training, they definitely have an October-feel to them with the drama and tension hanging on every pitch. It's disappointing that several players elected not to play, but I can understand them wanting to focus on the season as well. I hope it stays around, because this develops the game globally, and that can only help the game as teams will look at other countries to try and find future talent.
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