View of the WBC logo in the Italy dugout: Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
While I did not get very much feedback from you, the readers, on my first session I did get a nice response from some fellow writers. Therefore, we are having another go.
This week, I thought it only appropriate to discuss my contempt for The World Baseball Classic with my therapist. For those of you who missed my first session, here is what is going on…
A good friend of mine is a therapist and they agreed to treat me for my baseball hang-ups, free of charge. They also agreed to let me post the sessions on the site, so long as I do not reveal ANY information about them.
Same as last time, I will be the L and the good Doctor will be the letter D. Also, same as last time, I edited this way down. We talked for almost 90 minutes, so I cut out a lot. Most of it is me crying…don’t judge.
D: Let’s start by you telling me what the World Baseball Classic is.
L: The WBC is a World Cup style baseball tournament that is held every 3 years to promote baseball in other countries. The only problem is that most of the other countries pull American ballplayers off of their respective major league teams to fill their rosters. This essentially defeats the purpose of the games all together.
D: Do you know who first started these games?
L: Bud Selig created them.
D: Ok. And now, why do you suppose he created this tournament?
L: Well that is a loaded question. His primary goal was to make himself more money, which is really his overall goal in life. I suspect that part of him was sick of only being in charge of baseball in the US, so he wanted to be the Commissioner of baseball for the entire world. He also wanted more opportunities to travel for free, I assume.
D: Have you ever watched any of the WBC?
L: The very first one back in 2006. I watched a few games. Then something bizarre happened.
D: What happened Lou?
L: I watched Mike Piazza, at that point a member of the Oakland A’s, play for team Italy. Just because he had an Italian last name and some Italian heritage, does not make him an Italian baseball player. Piazza was born in Pennsylvania….At that point I realized that this was not about bringing baseball to the world, it was about money. Pure and simple. No one was going to tune in and watch Team Italy, unless they had a big name on the roster. It was easy for teams from Mexico and the Dominican to get big names, but for countries like the Netherlands and Italy…they were screwed. That created this need for those teams to add a big name star in order for their country to give two sh—.
D: What do you think about the timing of the games? More specifically, what do you think about how it conflicts with Spring Training?
L: I think that it is maybe the dumbest thing about the WBC.
D: Can you elaborate for me?
L: Well look…if I’m Bud Selig, my bread and butter is MLB. So why risk some of the biggest names in the world to some game that really serves no true merit or purpose? It is one thing if the games are held during the off-season and guys have a chance to heal, but doing it during Spring Training is one of the stupidest things I can think of. I would put the WBC’s timing with the MLB season on par with the guy who pitched the idea for the movie “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. It only takes one person to come up with an idea, but it takes multiple people to make it a reality. To do this weeks’ before the start of the regular MLB season…is beyond stupid. Moronic, ignorant, pea-brained, ill-advised, etcetera and so on.
D: I think I have a pretty firm grasp on why you hate these games so much. Do you think that you would you hate these games this much if baseball was still an Olympic event?
L: Hard to say for sure, but I would certainly put more stock into the Olympic outcome than the WBC outcome. At this point, I put more stock into the Little League World Series than I do the WBC.
D: How long have you hated Bud Selig?
L: Since the Gary Sheffield trade.
D: Do you remember when that was?
L: I remember it like it was yesterday. It was right before the season started. We were living at our old house on 40th Ave (Kenosha, WI) and I remember standing in the living room staring at the TV in shock. I even remember the players we got in return…Ricky Bones, Jose Valentin, and Matt Mieske. And I remember my Dad coming home from work and him having to explain to me why ballplayers rarely stay with one team. Which was further rammed home when Paul Molitor was allowed to walk away from the Brewers. Sheffield’s first season in San Diego, he almost won the Triple Crown and Molitor won 2 World Series’ rings.
D: But Bud Selig brought the Brewers to Milwaukee.
L: So what? Other than the 1982 season, what did he really accomplish with the team? In his 20 years as the owner, the Brewers had one of the worst winning percentages of any team during that stretch. Not to mention his multiple legal battles during that era. If you don’t count the 1981 and 1982 seasons, he may have been the worst owner in baseball over his 20 year reign. Jeff Loria, the owner of the Marlins, reminds me of Bud Selig.
D: I feel like you get hung up on particular aspects of something without looking at the whole picture Lou. Clearly, you hate Bud Selig…in fact, most Brewers fans probably share your contempt for that man. What I am hearing from you is, if anyone but Bud Selig had started the World Baseball Classic you would watch it.
L: That is not true. If they agreed that only players from those native nations could represent them, I might also be more inclined to watch. Because otherwise what is the point? So that Dutch people can watch Americans represent their country? And it would have to be scheduled during the fall or winter.
D: Ok, that’s fair. But don’t you think Selig was in part responsible for allowing players to play for any country they so choose, as well as when the games are played?
L: Well of course, it is his Hunger Games.
D: You view him as a dictator Lou, a corrupt politician. In your eyes, he can do no right. Therefore, the WBC can do no right by you either.
L: Hard to argue with that logic.
D: I bet…that if you watched the games and commentators made no mention of Selig, or showed any shots of him in attendance, you would enjoy the games.
L: Well, I love baseball…so that is not entirely fair. I feel like I could watch T-ball games and enjoy them.
D: Then why do you not want to watch the WBC?
L: S***, well now I don’t know how to answer that question. You got inside my head (name).
D: I want you to try something for me. Start by having pride in your country. The US team plays on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Watch those games. Embrace the game you love, by embracing your countries team. I believe this might help you to enjoy the WBC, or if not enjoy them at the very least come to terms with the fact that they do not totally suck.
L: So, you just want me to watch the USA?
D: That’s right. If you still hate it after this weekend and want nothing to do with it, then I have failed you as a free therapist.