I stayed up on Wednesday night to watch the USA's 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico in the WBC championship game. I found it and the previous night's semi-final game to be enjoyable and compelling to watch, and I was especially impressed by the joy of the USA players, and in fact of all players in the WBC, throughout the games.
It seems that we have become accustomed to watching ballplayers treating a major league game with the same degree of ennui as a guy putting in eight hours at, say, an accounting firm, a bank, or a Highmark sales office. Yes, it is their livelihood, but it is also a game. It's supposed to be fun. The international players all showed how fun it can be, and it seemed that that sense of joy infected the USA players. Did you hear Christian Yelich say in the post game interview that this tournament was "the most fun he ever had playing baseball"?
One exception of course was a grumpy statement from Ian Kinsler saying how those international players "don't know how the game should be played". So, along with his WBC gold medal, give Kinsler a sour lemon to suck on in the clubhouse while he reads the Book of Unwritten Rules. Too bad he couldn't have demonstrated the same sense of joy that Yelich, Adam Jones, Marcus Stroman and others appeared to have throughout the tournament.
And then, of course, there were these two guys who rejoined their team in Bradenton today. They look pretty happy don't they?
Jay-Hey and Cutch
Now that the USA has broken through and won one of these in their fourth try, I suspect that the quadrennial World Baseball Classic is here to stay. I also suspect that guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper and others may be less inclined to disdain the WBC when 2021 rolls around.