I've been watching the World Baseball Classic on ESPN since it started nearly 10 days ago. I've always been in favor of a "true" baseball world championship, styled on soccer's World Cup. It's been criticized in many circles, and some of the criticisms are legitimate. There are certainly plenty of bugs to be worked out when the WBC plays again in 2009. (I'm in favor of it being played AFTER the World Series.) Last night's USA-South Korea game was played at 10 PM ET, 7 PM on the West Coast (the game was played in Anaheim). But I'd really like it explained to me WHY the game was NOT broadcast live? I don't mind watching games that begin at 10 here in the East, but why was it delayed until 1 AM on ESPN2? I was with some friends at my favorite watering hole, Professor Thom's, on 2nd Avenue and 13th Street in the Village, and ESPN kept showing some live cut-ins, but wouldn't stay with the game live. There is a lot of interest in the WBC, but I don't understand why ESPN wouldn't show the action as it was happening.
The night was not a total loss, as at the bar last night, my friends Gareth, Kim, John and I were winners in Professor Thom's "Trivia Night" contest. It's two out of three Monday night's that I've won, and I'll be going for 3 out of 4 next Monday!
I watched part of the delayed broadcast this morning on ESPN2, and as you all know, the USA put themselves in a big hole by losing to the South Koreans, 7-3. The Koreans are proving to be the surprise team of the tournament so far, and are a win over Japan away from reaching the semifinals. The USA can still make it to the semis by beating Mexico and getting some help from the Koreans.
At least during the USA-Korea game we were not subjected to the ramblings of Rick Sutcliffe. I find him rather insufferable to listen to. During the first two games, he seemed to be shocked that "Yankees and Red Sox players were actually working together for the USA". News flash to Sutcliffe: most Yankee and Red Sox players are friendly with each other! The real rivalry seems to be with the fans and the media, who really play it up. When I was in San Diego in 2004, I watched a number of Padres games on TV, and Sutcliffe, on the local broadcasts, is one of those "us and we" guys, in his reference to the home team. Granted, all home team announcers are biased to the home side, but I detest those guys who use "us" or "we" to refer to the team that are being paid for. The Red Sox and Mets announcers are not like that, and as much as I don't like Yankee anouncers like Michael Kay and John Sterling, they don't do that either.
I do like the job Eric Karros has done in the booth during the tournament for ESPN, as has Orel Hershiser as well. Neither one is at all flashy, and I guess many might consider them boring. But they seem to be well-prepared and are good nuts and bolts baseball guys. I look forward to hearing them both during the regular season on ESPN.