This is a debate we haven't really engaged in here yet. Possibly it's because we're first and foremost a Sox blog, though possibly everyone has just been avoiding the subject because they know how I feel and don't want to hurt my feelings. So I'm just going to put it out there. I love the WBC. And I hope DP and Braun and Lindstraum's injuries turn out to be very minor, but frankly, absent some Ecuador-Columbia friendly scenario where a soccer game erupts into cross-border disturbance, nothing's going to make me stop loving it.
And I find it hard to believe that anyone who watched Venezuela-Puerto Rico last night and paused for a moment to think, 'holy crap, it's only March,' doesn't agree. That place was pulsating. Salsa playing over the PA systems, beautiful women draped in flags, a level of sustained screaming usually associated with municipal disasters and the Jonas Brothers.
And from the game itself, what more could you have asked? Every inning someone was threatening, someone was in scoring position. Five times, five times I counted a pitcher leaping into the air and giving a fist pump that started down at his knees. And even when K-Rod did it after getting the third out in the 8th, I wasn't offended. Because there's something about this tournament. It's like the playoffs. When a guy pumps his fist, it doesn't feel like he's trying to show anyone up or create a signature gesture to cash in on with the sponsors (see K-Rod). It feels like he's actually expressing some sort of national pride. And this is in March.
I also find it hard to believe you weren't rooting just a little bit for the Dutch, who play small ball not by regal mandate of Mike Sciosca but because that's the only option available to them. Then just when you're thinking how cute and scrappy they are, they parade out some guy in the fifth inning doldrums who's throwing 95 with movement. 95 with movement from a Hollander!
So you start thinking, where the hell do these guys come from? And you get the pleasant sensation that baseball the world over is a sport of rugged individualists--a guy throwing 95 into a dyke, Aussies hurling rocks at outback crocs, and barefoot Syd Finch throwing 128 in Alaska. Yes, it's all a myth, but baseball, despite the 'roids and the inflated contracts and the 'dipsh#ts being dipsh#ts' has still got romance in spades. There's just something about midsummer nights.
And there's something about the ides of March nights right now, too. I love the WBC.