It should be no surprise to you, gentle readers, that I do not spend all of my time thinking about theater. I'd lose my mind. As a respite from the art form, I have a variety of hobbies, including mocking Smash, complaining about my cats, and thinking much too hard about baseball. Because I'm a weirdo, I don't mind watching sports on DVR, which means that during the baseball season, I will usually record the night's Mets game to watch the next day, while I'm working. Baseball season doesn't start until April, but this week I discovered an altogether weirder version of America's pastime, the World Baseball Classic, and wrote an essay on it for smartypants sports blog The Classical.
Spring Training is a tease. Baseball addicts survive winter's frosty void on a thin diet of trade rumors, "classic rebroadcasts," and Wikipedia biographies of old-timey players with funny names. (I see you, Ugly Dickshot.) The day pitchers and catchers report, we think, will mean the end of torment, as the most powerful opioid in sports begins to drip again. Invariably, we soon remember that spring baseball is like drinking salt water—it amplifies your thirst, and doesn't taste right, besides.
Parched, bored and desperate for competitive baseball—where players clap when they win and pout when they lose, and where we aren't forced to watch back-up catchers run slo-mo sprints in the outfield during games—I turned to something I had previously been happy to ignore: the World Baseball Classic. Baseball's would-be World Cup, the Classic is an international tournament in a sport that has no true infrastructure for international play. It has only happened twice before, in 2006 and 2009, and both times I dismissed it as a meaningless contest, played by nobodies (or bored somebodies) and watched by no one. Who needs a World Baseball Classic when you've got a World Series?
Well, as it turns out, I do. The World Baseball Classic is flawed, goofy, slipshod, and everything the World Series is not. It's also pretty great.
There's much more where that came from. Read on, and be amazed!
As the baseball season wears on, hopefully I'll continue covering the sport for The Classical and whoever else will take me. Not only will it transform baseball tickets into a tax write-off, it will keep me from having to subject you to topics like my abiding love for Mike Baxter.