I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the World Baseball Classic. I’ve watched several games and have enjoyed them all. I’m still not sure about the timing, and if that can ever be fixed. Doing it during spring training sucks because most major leaguers aren’t in game shape yet. I can’t imagine baseball would ever adjust its schedule to allow for a mid-season tournament (playing a 154 game season every fourth year?). Post-season is as problematic as pre-season, especially for pitchers who have been run down over the previous six months. But I like the idea and hope it gets an honest chance.
My beef, though (and you knew I had one otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it), is ESPN’s coverage. I don’t know who determined the schedule, the network or MLB, but I don’t understand why so many games have been sent to tape delay. Last week I understand some of it, since ESPN was balancing all the basketball conference tournaments they carry. But why not put games featuring name teams on ESPN Classic live? They show all kinds of crappy college games on Classic live. Surely there’s no advantage to showing the US-South Africa game on tape at 2:00 AM as opposed to live on Classic. (I actually watched some of that game, as that was the night I couldn’t sleep, but I watched with minor interest because A) I was iller than ill and B) I had seen highlights of Griff’s shots about ten times already.)
So tonight I’m watching the Puerto Rico – Venezuela game and notice a score for the US-Korea game starts showing up. Is that game going on now, or was it this afternoon? I flip to ESPN2. No game. Tennis. Back to ESPN. The next time the score comes across, it lists it in the second inning and says the game will show up on ESPN Deportes (which pretty much no one has) at midnight, and ESPN2 at 1:00 AM.
Was this part of Bud Selig’s master plan? To keep the US from being on live TV? Granted, with the spread of major leaguers across many rosters, I’m seeing plenty of players I’m familiar with in the other games. But shouldn’t the US games always be on live in the US? If you want to build interest in the event, shouldn’t the home team get the NBC Olympic treatment and not be relegated to time slots of horrible informercials? I need to know who to blame, because someone needs to be blasted.