Why The WBC is Great For The Game of Baseball
The World Baseball Classic has officially come to an end. All the players involved are now making their way back to their respective ball clubs. Either in the MLB, independent leagues, or professional leagues. As much fun as it was to watch the WBC over the last couple of weeks, some "red flags" have come up regarding the tournament, especially on the major social media platforms.
These “red flags” really started to appear when Mets’ star closer, Edwin Díaz, went down in the midst of celebrating Team Puerto Rico’s victory over Team Dominican Republic. Díaz will most likely miss most of, if not, all of the 2023 MLB season with a full-thickness tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee.
He tweeted on Thursday evening, likely after his surgery: "To all my beloved fans, especially the Mets fans, I want to let you know that I am doing well and healing. "I feel blessed and grateful for your support with messages and prayers, thank you very much! I can't wait to see you guys in NY again and play those trumpets."
Many are going on to say the WBC isn’t worth the injury that Díaz suffered as well as adding comments such as the WBC being a “meaningless tournament”. For a lot of these players, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Team Dominican Republic’s Nelson Cruz, went on to say “The WBC is the real World Series because it’s when all of the countries play each other. We know the significance it has for us Dominicans and the love we have for the game. So we understand the responsibility, the weight we carry on our shoulders to do a good job and to make our fans feel proud.”
He was supported in his statement by not only his teammates, but many others who participated in the WBC. A few Team USA players commented on their stance as well.
The captain for Team USA, Mike Trout, had this to say: "It was probably the funnest 10 days I've ever had. It reminded me of travel ball when I was a kid, just the friendships. You grind every day and play against these guys and now they're your teammates. The whole WBC was special for me."
Kyle Schwarber had this to say: "Everyone's entitled to an opinion, but at the end of the day the opinions that matter most are probably the players that are out here playing for their countries and the people that are tuning in every single night that root on their country and their team.”
As we’re on the topic, the commissioner of baseball chipped in his comments as well: "The combination of nationalism and sport is really, really powerful and if you have an opportunity to participate in an event that combines the two, you have to take it.”
At the end of the day, the World Baseball Classic is extremely important to these players who participate and to baseball. Growing the game has been a major point of focus for MLB. Hence, part of the reason why the rule changes have been implemented over the last couple years. It’s hard to see many other events that can bring baseball fans together more than the World Baseball Classic. Fans have been treated to an amazing tournament this past season and get to look forward to the next one in 2026.
All of the players involved have expressed their passion and love for the game. Fans see that on a nightly basis when they suit up for their major league teams. The WBC has deeper roots than playing for their ball clubs. When these players get ready before the game, they look down and see where they’re from and for some, reminds them of the perseverance they had to overcome to be where they are today. It’s a beautiful thing when viewers truly think about it. Baseball fans can learn to love and appreciate the game in a whole new way while watching this tournament unfold. Every game feels like a World Series game for a lot of these players. Speaking from experience, it felt like that for every fan who attended those games as well.