1. Lack of team play. Just look at the US Men’s Basketball team prior to the Beijing Olympics. Like the Basketball teams, the US Baseball team just threw a bunch of All-Stars together and basically said go win and like the Men’s Basketball team the Baseball team crashed and burned. For the next WBC, Team USA should name a team 6-9 months before the tournament starts and if the tournament is in March again, then at the end of December beginning of January they should get together and start practicing together.
2. Lack of a functional team. I look at Team USA as a collection of All-Starts, not as a team. Why did Team USA have both Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins on its roster this year? Why did they not have a full bench for the semi-final against Japan? During the semi-final broadcast Steve Phillips made a rare good point when he said, “Team USA should have a team with 8 starting fielders and then utility players on the bench for if someone gets hurt.”
3. Handcuffed Managing. I believe that Davy Johnson is doing the best he can most of the time. However, the biggest problem with Team USA is they all want to play and need to play. Because the tournament is played during Spring Training the players come and expect to play and there clubs expect them to play to be ready for the upcoming season. This hampers the building of team continuity and creates situations where Roy Oswalt stays on the mound to give up 6 runs in 4 1/3 innings. When a player joins Team USA and the WBC, they can not look at is as Spring Training, but a tournament where they are representing their country and need to do what it takes to win.
Hopefully if there is another World Baseball Classic, Team USA can copy the Redeem Team’s plan and win.