The World Baseball Classic was billed as a ‘Festival of Baseball.’ [Opinion]
The world loves baseball! OK, well 20 countries had teams in the World Baseball Classic. The FIFA World Cup has just 12 more teams.
This piece isn’t about who wins as much as it is about how amazing the competition is and how so many of these countries are more about soccer than baseball. But those soccer countries are getting really good about their baseball and a game that was known “as our national pastime.”
Good news for baseball is the kids around the world and on every continent are playing a game learning sportsmanship, the importance of hard work, fun and the dream of playing on the world stage coming true for some of the best athletes in the world.
The Olympic Games have been politicized and have lost their luster for many. Just take a look at their television ratings and see that fewer fans are tuning in.
The NFL has seen its fan base shrink over the last few seasons. So has the NBA. People that follow sports, teams, and favorite players don’t want to tune in to see protests, they just want to see plays.
The refreshing thing about the World Baseball Classic was the pride that our USA team players showed, and the pride demonstrated by every player on the field of play from the other 19 countries.
The World Baseball Classic was billed as a “Festival of Baseball.” It has lived up to its billing. Players who have been in World Series, All Star Games, pennant races, all agree that the fan noise, cheers, and jeers, are the loudest they have ever heard.
Tune in on Fox Sports and you’ll see fans from all over the world waving flags, wearing team gear, and screaming for their favorite players and teams. Fans from other nations are sitting next to each other without incident.
The games are nearing their end. The US defeated Cuba to earn entry into the final championship game. That was the first time the two teams played one another in history.
Japan and Mexico are set to play next. The winner of that game will take on the USA for the championship or title game in Miami, Fla.
Make no mistake, all these players want to win. They made it to the World Baseball Classic by hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence.
Baseball and those who play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic have also shown that while it’s about winning, it’s also been about sportsmanship.
The example of sportsmanship set by these players is the testimonial that the next generations of baseball players need to see. It’s also what the world needs to see as we are more increasingly at odds.
This wasn’t a sports story. It was just a story about people from around the world that can compete on the global stage and do so free of political statements. These games and the teams that played in them put the “play ball” back in sports.
- Baseball: Shutterstock