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The World Baseball Classic

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It wasn’t that I was skeptical about the World Baseball Classic, it’s just that I didn’t care. It’s like when "National Treasure 2" came out; I didn’t care enough to think, man, that’s going to be a stinker. I knew I would never see it. If I were on a 15-hour plane flight, I knew that I would rather play cloud bingo for 14 hours than watch it. Why even work up an opinion on it?

At least, that’s how I felt a month ago. Before that, there were whispers that Tim Lincecum might pitch for the U.S.A., which horrified me. Lincecum is our golden boy. Sorry, country. I don’t want Lincecum to pitch for anyone but the Giants. Ever. I don’t care if it’s Team USA in the WBC, Team USA in the Olympics, or the Yogi Yahooeys in the Laff Olympics. Lincecum does not commit team infidelities. Once he was out, though, my horror moved quickly to indifference.

So I can’t believe how into this thing I am. I cracked out on it all day Saturday, and my DVR has handled the rest of the load. Last night, I watched the entire game between South Africa and Mexico live. Back in January, I would have set the odds of that happening at 100 to never. One of the common complaints about the WBC is that teams like the Netherlands, Italy, and South Africa drag down the level of competition. But watching South Africa last night was a treat. For one, they’re a ridiculously young team. One of the pitchers in last night’s game was 16. It’s interesting from a prospect hound’s perspective. Gift Ngoepe hit two triples last night – dude can fly – and I was hoping the Giants had a scout there. Alas, the Pirates already have him under contract.

It is a little silly that players can play for a country even if they’re only tangentially affiliated with the country. Team Italy is probably the worst offender , but even the Italian team has a healthy number of players from the professional Italian leagues. I can deal with the lackadaisical eligibility requirements if it helps Italy or China field a team that can hang around for nine innings.

I love watching Yu Darvish pitch. I’m geeked on a lineup that features David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Brian McCann possibly facing a pitching staff of Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto, and Pedro Martinez. It’s fun to watch Adrian Gonzalez demolish pitchers when he isn’t wearing a brown and yellow uniform, or whatever the Padres are wearing nowadays.

I’m in. This thing is fun.