Two-bit Post Facto Lame Observations on the WBC (or Why I Love the WBC Deptite its Tremendously Obvious Flaws
Aside from those that would be more apt to bring up during the opening round, e.g. the questionable legitimacy of several players' ethnic ties to the teams they represent or the hilariously ethnic names of the native Italian players (Matt's favorite: Giuseppe Mazzanti), here are some of the things I've enjoyed most about the WBC through the first two incarnations of the experiment.
The shittiness of the U.S. roster. This one's been analyzed to death by both WBC detractors and by those who want to take it seriously, but it still bears a mention. Back in '06, I remember thinking, "Who the fuck are Gary Majewski and Brian Schnieder?" And 2009 didn't disappoint anyone browsing the roster for "Who the fuck...?"s. But I think even funnier than the barrel-scrapage for pitchers and catchers was the fact that the starting 1B in USA's elimination game was Mark DeRosa, a guy playing out of position (and arguably out of country, as I assume he has more Italian blood than Kasey Olenberger or Chris Cooper).
The motivation disparity. If you were on the Cuban team, your failure to win the championship drew the ire of your supreme dictator, who basically calls you a disgraceful waste of human existence and who could--I assume--excecute your ass on a whim. If you were on the US team, your failure to win drew the ire of... your dad maybe?
The gaudy / retro / baffling uniforms. I only wish that the U.S. would've taken a cue from their WBC foes and the Washington Nationals' forthcoming alternate cap.
How shamelessly I racially profile baseball players. I don't know what's sadder--the fact that I shoehorned every player's style into some watered-down archetype of "typical Asian / Latino / Mexican player" or the fact that, for me, these archetypes are all still guys who played for the mid-'90s Dodgers. Every time I tried to size up a Mexican pitcher's stuff, it was, "He reminds me a lot of Ismael Valdez." Pathetic.
How shamelessly I racially profile everyone. If it weren't enough for me to shoehorn anonymous foreigndudes into flimsy baseball player archetypes, I managed to pair every nuance of their games with some ignorant or borderline-offensive stereotype of their culture. You can use your imagination to materialize these if you wish, but let's just say they involve samurai swords, salsa dancing, and scenes from A Fistful of Dollars and The Karate Kid.
How much I envy the fans of non-U.S. teams. Anyone who's read this blog for a while knows that I've become pretty jaded when it comes to emotional investment in team allegiances. The last few years, my lone outlet for irrational exhuberance and despair (today: crippling despair) has been Marquette basketball, but when it comes to pro teams, it's hard to find that place without a diehard by my side and/or beer. My mildly tortured emotions during the final week of the AL Central race last year gave me hope that I'm not quite dead inside, but still--for as much as I put the sport on a pedestal, I wish I could feel the same about a baseball team as I do about Marquette basketball or my yet-to-be-conceived child.
Joe Morgan trying to pronounce the names of Korean and Japanese players. It's funny. Have a listen if you can find a good clip before it's vaporized by the DMCA ray gun.
Anyway, feel free to add your own ramblings on the WBC if you're also looking for something benign and sports-related to draw your mind away from a certain basketball game that shall not be mentioned.