Aaron Gleeman, at NBC’s Hardball Talk, has enjoyed pointing out the small crowds in Fukuoka, Japan for the WBC games there that don’t involve Japan.
The commenters seem to enjoy piling on too.
Words like “farce” and “dumb idea” are the common descriptors.
For some reason, baseball players are not supposed to be like competitors in other major team sports (like soccer, hockey, and basketball) where there are regular international tournaments that can help to bring some worldwide publicity to the game.
Is it bad that not many people showed up for some games in Japan? It’s not perfect, but the schedule required some games to be played in the afternoon during a workweek, when people are… working. Japan is not a country that is kind to the idea of phoning in sick for work to go to a baseball game. Which is why just about every midweek game in Japan is a night game. (There were some more day games in 2011 to save electricity after the earthquake/tsunami.)
I have been to two WBC games in my life, both between Japan and Korea, and they have been two of the most intensely played games I’ve seen and in an exciting (yet extremely cordial) atmosphere.
I’m not certain what would satisfy some people about the WBC? Would they need crowds that would fill Maracana Stadium for every game?
Describing a handful of extra exhibition games played over a few weeks in spring training seems like a weird thing to get worked up over.
Perhaps, it’s just more fun to have endless debates over who will be the Dodgers #5 starter or who will get the utility infield spot for the Padres.