MLB says WBC was 'an unqualified success, a home run'
Many baseball fans in this country scoff at the World Baseball Classic. Many say they hate it and hope it will go away. But when the 2013 WBC concluded Tuesday night, MLB declared it "an unqualified success, a home run."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Complain all you want. Scoff at the World Baseball Classic all you want.
It's not going away.
You might not love it (and judging by the responses I get on Twitter, many of you don't). Major-league general managers, as a group, don't love it, either.
Like it or not, they'll see it again in four years.
"The commissioner is 1,000 percent committed [to 2017]," MLB executive vice president Tim Brosnan said moments after the Dominican Republic won the 2013 WBC by beating Puerto Rico 3-0 in the championship game. "It's a world-wide event, and it's an unqualified success. A home run."
It's easy to point out where the WBC succeeds (great passion in many countries, great progress in some places where baseball barely existed before). It's just as easy to point out where it has failed (continuing apathy in this country and the lack of participation by many stars).
The successes and failures were both on display Tuesday. As Brosnan spoke, the Dominican Republic team celebrated a title that players and coaches said was a highlight of their careers and the top moment in their country's sporting history. The title game was such a big deal in both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico that officials in both countries set up big screens in ballparks for fans to come watch, and the atmosphere at AT&T Park was good.
But the game didn't come close to selling out, despite heavily-discounted tickets. Only five American newspapers from outside the Bay Area sent reporters to cover the championship round.
"People can talk negatives all they want," Brosnan said. "I can cite 1,000 positives for every negative."
Tournament officials frequently offer reminders that this is only the third time the WBC has been held, and they can already see the growth. Brosnan suggested there could be even more countries participating by 2017, and qualifiers for that tournament could begin as soon as 2015.
"It's a beautiful event," he said. "For baseball's purposes, it was an over-the-top success."
So, no. It's not going away. Feel free to ignore it again -- or embrace it -- in 2017.