By Bill Smith
If you are test driving a used car and as you leave the lot buzzards are circling overhead, maybe buying this vehicle is not a good idea. The players and owners should have gotten that same message about about the WBC.
Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe received four stitches after being accidentally spiked on a play at second base and Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore suffered a strain in his left groin. Relief pitcher Brian Fuentes suffered an unspecified injury. And these injuries happened BEFORE the games even started!
Matt Lindstrom, Marlins reliever, injured his shoulder Sunday night in the game against The Netherlands. It ended up that the injury was in his right rotator cuff which is one of the most feared injuries by all pitchers. Ryan Braun is out with a sore right side. Other game injuries include Kevin Youkilis (left ankle), Dustin Pedroia (left oblique), and Chipper Jones (right oblique). David Wright fouled a ball off his big toe, cracking the nail.
In my column The World Baseball Classic is neither Baseball nor Classicdiscuss! on March 12th I predicted that injuries to players that participated in the WBC would hurt MLB teams. The injury situation is so serious that Team USA has only a catcher on the bench as a field player reserve. Outfielder Adam Dunn was forced to play first base after the Youkilis injury and committed a series of errors that resulted in a loss in their last game. The meaningless game was played just to establish seeding for the next round.
The smart players decided to pass on the honor of participating in the WBC. ESPN reported that the US team had to make 2 or 3 calls to get 1 player to agree to play. Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan pulled out of the World Baseball Classic due to concerns about the current state of his mechanics. Twins closer Joe Nathan bowed out of the WBC due to discomfort in the AC joint of his right shoulder.
The WBC is an event without a home. Players are not in shape to go full out in early March. That has led to the rash of injuries this Spring. November is not an alternative either. ESPN gets a 4.5 to 5 share of the audience for a college football game between Whats-A-Matta U and Sisters of Perpetual Misery. WBC has not released TV ratings after admitting that it had a 0.4 share in the first round.
The only thing that might work is to stop the MLB season for 2 weeks to replace the all star break. Even then, MLB would risk injury that could wipe out the teams hope of the playoffs. Even in the summer, WBC would only have a 1.0 rating.
Maybe the organizers of the WBC should contact the NHL to find out what kind of a deal the Vs. network gave them.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .
My email is [email protected]