It Ain’t Over ‘til It’sOver ……….
Well the round robin phase of the World Baseball Classic is reaching its culmination. And already we’ve had one or two surprises. But none more so than the elimination of the presumptive favorites from the Dominican Republic. Personally I feel that it’s down to the curse of the A-Rod. His asinine too-ing and fro-ing has all but led to his teammates allegedly despising him and he no doubt using them as a crutch. Much like he’s used those around him including the Yankees’ organization to hide his much darker side.
Well for now it’s all over for the Dominican Republic as far as the Classic is concerned. They now can head back home and lick their wounds and whatever other body parts that are in need of a cure. As for their conquerors the Netherlands. They can now look forward to the scrutiny that they’ll now be placed under. So much so that this might be the biggest sporting story to hit the country and its territories in quite a while. The fashionable thinking is that the event deserves something of a Cinderella story to it all. In order that it can further capture the public’s imagination. As to the supporters of the Dominican team I’d dare say that they’re drowning their sorrows in several glasses of some sort of alcoholic beverage. But that’s for another time and place as we certainly wouldn’t want to delve into that particular area . Given the puritanical nature of this domain.
Whilst on the face of it this event has caught the attention of the public . Has it actually given us all that we’d hoped for ? And better yet one ought to be asking is this is meant to the prestigious event that we’re being told that it is? Then why is it that it’s not being given more of an exposure to a greater viewing audience than merely being placed on the omnipresent channels of ESPN ? Is the house that Mickey built intent on world domination when it comes to sport’s programming ? It’s one thing to be told that this is the biggest international baseball tournament in the world. But it’s another thing when it barely registers a blip as to the viewing audience in terms of a television presence. Internationally we’re told that the event will be televised in some 200 plus territories and that the attendance for the games internationally will be large. This has been borne out in Puerto Rico , Japan and in Canada. But in reality when the greater part of the viewing public that’s shown a keen interest in the sport is primarily here in North America . The case for the perceived argument that the game has indeed caught on. The foundations for it can be made but where are the fruits of that labor ?
The Classic as it now stands will live and die by what now takes place over the ensuing weeks until the finals are played. And as the teams are whittled down. It’s hoped that the US team can acquit itself well. At the inaugural event the US team could do no better than make it to the quarter finals. And an eighth place finish was deemed less than a successful endeavor. It were as if the country were reliving the ineptitude shown by the US Olympic basketball team of 2004 all over. Perceived as the tournament favorites. They went in with all of the bravado and narcissism one would come to expect from a bunch of overpaid superstars expecting just to flaunt their athletic prowess, feeling that their opponents would succumb to them in one fail swoop. That wasn’t the case then , nor was it in 2006. This time around they’re hoping to fare better and no doubt prove that they’re far more superior than the other contestants competing in the competition itself.
As to their likely opponents will be should they make it all the way to the finals. Well it could come down to which of the teams in question will want to win it all more. The list is a varied one stemming from Japan, Cuba , Mexico , Korea , Venezuela and the darlings of the event so far the Netherlands. Does that mean that there’ll be someone rooting for the underdogs ? But there’s more to come as the round robin is not yet completed. Suffice to say it could make all make for a very interesting sporting spectacle when it’s all said and done. The one thing one has to admire however is the zeal with which many of the teams have played. Even those who aren’t perceived as contenders for the event itself. They’ve come to play and enjoy themselves no doubt. All in the spirit of competition and to facilitate camaraderie of a sport that’s growing in acceptance in some parts of the world. While here at home it’s still steeped in a cloud of controversy , impropriety and a complete lack of leadership from its hierarchy. Which at the end of the day it’s a shame because if it weren’t for that I’d say that the game has a real chance of being accepted worldwide as a pastime and recreational sport that’d be on the rise.
But for the incompetency shown by MLB and the fact that it doesn’t feel that it ought to be dictated to once the game goes beyond its borders. I think that this game would be one where it’d be welcomed more internationally. If it can’t get its own house in order how do they think they can aspire to teach and help the game foment and cement itself abroad at the international level ?