Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


March adds WBC to madness

Just when you thought the Olympics were over and done with, the first-ever World Baseball Classic is set to kick off tomorrow when Korea is set to take on the China-Taipei team.

If you're like me, you probably got caught up in all of the commotion of players saying they weren't going to play, then that they were and then maybe they weren't, you probably didn't realize that it was ready to get under way.

Then again, if you're like me, you realize that it is March and you probably aren't sure if you really need to add another layer of madness to the month gives us NCAA championships in men's basketball, men's hockey and women's basketball. Do we really need baseball, the sport that gives us a 162-game season — of which only the final 60 end up mattering — followed by what seems like 90 more days of playoffs to get any longer?


Yeah, it couldn't hurt. But think about how much more fun it would be to hold such a tournament in late July. Just snag all the players from the teams like Atlanta that have already clinched a spot in the playoffs and players from teams like Colorado, which undoubtedly will be eliminated, and have them square off so that they see action in a meaningful game before October.

But I digress: I'll send these suggestions to the MLB and WBC and we'll see if we can't hammer out something for next year.

I guess the main question is why not make March a little madder?

Hopefully, despite the absence of some players, we will see a solid international competition with some interesting twists and turns.

For instance, if you thought Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis had trouble being teammates for the U.S. speedskating team, think about how hard it will be for the Red Sox Mike Timlin and Jason Varitek to play alongside Yankees' Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

Oh wait, I suppose they could just call up Johnny Damon and see how he's dealing with the situation.

It will also be interesting to see how Roger Clemens will do against world competitors if he can surrender a home run to his kid, or if Ken Griffey, Jr. can go through the entire schedule without getting injured.

And if you thought that there were some big names missing from lineups, just think about how Mr. Baseball Jack Elliot — Tom Selleck — felt when he saw his name was not included on the Japanese roster. C'mon, if Stubby Clapp can play second base for Canada, the Japanese roster has to have some room for Selleck and his mustache.

The Classic will also up a variety of interesting nuances as far as rules are concerned.

For example, if a pitcher tosses more than 50 pitches in one game, he must take the next four contests off. And in the first round of pool play, pitchers cannot throw more than 65 pitches in a game.

Considering I've seen some of these pitchers throw 30 pitches in an inning, things could get interesting in that department.

The Classic is also instituting the "Slaughter Rule" where if a team is ahead by 15 runs after five innings or by 10 after seven innings, the umpires will end the game.

Of course, with every event, there must be a favorite, and it's hard to go against the Dominican Republic. Let's just say that with names like Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez — to name a few — the Dominicans still have a good shot at winning even without Manny Ramirez, who has yet to commit.

But in the spirit of the recent Olympics — and in the spirit that the United States absolutely flopped at the Winter games — I will lean towards the Americans as my pick to win.

Most importantly, they have a pleasant mixture of veterans and youngsters.

Clemens will take the hill along with young stars Dontrelle Willis and Jake Peavy. Roaming the outfield with the veteran Damon are upstarts like Jeff Francoeur. And they have an All-Star infield, which includes Jeter, A-Rod, Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira.

It's hard not to root for the Americans with those names. And it's not especially hard to root for them after the recent Winter Olympics.

So I'll take that line, hope that the Classic's ratings aren't similar to said Olympics, and start up the chant: U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

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