Thursday, January 19, 2006

Line on Dominicans is 1-1

I love that Fidel Castro has taken a personal interest in the World Baseball Classic.

Has anything in sports _ outside of the BCS _ been more maligned than the WBC? Front office types worry the timing of the international tournament (March 3-20) will interfere with traditional spring training and, more importantly, put extra wear on arms in their rotations and bullpens. Remember the White Sox? They won with consistent, healthy pitching.

And the public, well, the public has yawned resoundingly at the WBC. Frankly, I like the idea. It's a fantasy baseballer's dream come true. I don't know how much stress 2-plus weeks of competitive ball puts on a guy's arm _ I suppose that depends on the player. Gone are the days of Ironman Joe McGinnity, replaced by $25 million-a-year Hummels like Alex Rodriguez. To risk injury to such an expensive showpiece in an exhibition tournament would be career suicide for an MLB general manager.

Still, I'd like to see the scrappy Cuban team _ weaned on government rice, trained on stone-strewn sand lots _ whup up on the overpaid millionaires from the States. Castro would be there, too _ cigar in hand _ laughing all the way.

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