The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Turning the corner on the World Baseball Classic

March 9, 2006

Rodger is certainly right that posting has been light due to grading. However, in my case the combination of spring break and massive amounts of grading offered me the opportunity to watch the World Baseball Classic the past two days. And while I admit that I was somewhat skeptical of the whole enterprise when it was announced (Rob still has some issues with the WBC), the past two days of games that I was able to watch (and the highlights of the Korea-Japan game from last week) have brought me around.

In each game I have watched so far both the fans and the players have shown great enthusiasm, creating a playoff-like environment powerful enough that it shows through the boob-tube. Games have been well-played, lacking the characteristic sloppiness and “who-cares-about-winning” that is the hallmark of spring training games. Many of these players are coming off of winter ball seasons and those that didn’t look as if they did. The Pool D opener between the Dominican Republic and Venezuela was electric for most of the game, as was Cuba-Panama today (and, BTW, Yulieski Gourriel is an absolute stud). I leapt off the couch when Derrek Lee and Chipper Jones hit homeruns in yesterdays game to put the USA up 2-0. And as we speak Canada is about to go 2-0 by (unfortunately) upsetting the US 8-6 it what was a tremendous game.

If the games continue to be this good, the players and fans maintain their level of enthusiasm (which it seems they will), and the injury bug manages to avoid the major MLB stars the WBC will go down as a success. As much as I hate to give Bud Selig credit (for much of anything) I will be the first to tip my cap.

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Petti is Associate Director of Insights and Analytics at Alexion . Previously, he served as Lead Data Scientist in the Decision Sciences group at Maritz Motivation and a Global Data Strategist and Subject Matter Expert for Gallup.