The Gap is Closing (2013 WBC Preview)

WBC_2013

The World Baseball Classic is one of the youngest major tournaments in the world and the legend has already grown. In 2005 the IOC would make a major decision that would change the face of international baseball. They would decide that baseball and softball would be removed from the Olympic schedule leaving a massive hole in the baseball world. There would no longer be a major tournament for the best countries in the world to face off. So in 2005 the International Baseball Federation would create their own major tournament to fill the void. So stepped in the World Baseball Classic as the only major international baseball tournament where the best of the best could face off. The tournament would first run in 2006 and in that tournament the baseball world would get a shock. The tournament was originally met with the usual concern that anything new is met with. The tournament would occur directly before spring training would start. This would not be a big selling feature to General Managers and owners of MLB teams as they would prefer not to risk multi-million dollar investments on the new tournament. They would also not see the point in releasing many of their players as they assumed that the USA would win with or without the help of MLB stars. It was, after all, the Great American Pastime and the majority of the players were from the USA. Even with the amateur players the USA was assumed to be the best of the tournament until reality sunk in. The 2006 tournament would go to Japan who took the championship and showed the world that there is a new baseball power while the USA would finish in 8th place. It would change the perception of the tournament that many thought would be dominated by the Americans. The Americans would also begin to take the tournament a lot more serious as the 2009 version of the team would feature much more MLB stars to avoid another embarrassment. They did much better but once again they would not win the tournament as Japan would take their second championship in their second tournament. The start of the tournament was not taken too seriously but now in its third installment the tournament has become something different.

There is a different buzz this year surrounding the WBC as teams and national bodies are taking a much different approach to the tournament. More players are beginning to look at the tournament as a big deal and most want to put their country’s colours on before the spring training. It is now seen as a part of the warm up to the regular season and the pride to play for their countries is only increasing. The MLB is also much more behind the tournament as a whole with general managers and owners are letting their players play. Some players will not make an appearance though as the fear of injuring old injuries still lingers, see the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista. As the tournament approaches and the baseball world gets revved up for the latest tournament one big question remains. Can the Japanese continue to dominate the only major international tournament in the world? The tournament gets better and better every year it is run and this year is no different as the talent gets better and better. This year is no different as there will be plenty to look to with the Japanese looking to win their third tournament and the Americans trying to finally win while the rest of the world looks for a major upset and win the tournament themselves.

Comments
2 Responses to “The Gap is Closing (2013 WBC Preview)”
  1. I’m glad to hear you’re interested in the WBC and have picked up on the growing enthusiasm for the tournament. I did want to point out that the Olympics was only a recent baseball world championship, as the Baseball World Cup was founded in 1938 and contested 39 times. The Intercontinental Cup was also considered a minor world championship after its founding in 1973. You are correct in that the WBC is now the only baseball world championship, but that is only because the other two Cups ended in 2011.

    Keep up the writing and I hope you enjoyed the Classic! Most of the games will be on MLB Network in the US. Best wishes.

    • True but the World Championship and Intercontinental Cup did not have the same reach as the Olympics had and now the WBC has, which is why I mainly mentioned the Olympics as a main international championship, if only because more people knew about the Olympic tournament than any other tournament.

      Thanks for reading.

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