The Public, Press and Players in the USA all have a part to play in Team USA's failure to advance in the World Baseball Classic
Down and out - The USA will have to just watch
the rest of the World Baseball Classic
Is ESPN still 'a thing', or is it basically a portion of the Miami Heat website now? This morning on first viewing the ESPN main page had between 5-7 major headlines involving the Miami Heat. One tiny, short sentence mentioned the fact the USA has been knocked out of the World Baseball Classic.
That in itself is a nice little pointer as to why the USA will not win the tournament any time soon.
Taking a step back for a second, is there anything worse than a big fat bully who loses a game of anything, and then walks away, dismissively, arrogantly proclaiming 'Whatever! I didn't wanna win it anyway!' That's pretty much the overall attitude being displayed by a very large number of people, press and players involved with Team USA and it's early exit from the International tournament of the game that America is supposed to own.
There isn't even a simple answer. The USA's problems in the World Baseball Classic (WBC from here on in this article) are of a deeply ingrained, toxic nature, and they come from the very roots of American society and it's attitude to international sports.
You know the problems are deep and toxic when a major US sports website has to beg; ''Time to start caring about the WBC''. Note to the USA; everyone else does already care about the WBC. The USA is out in the cold on its own on this one
Everything about the US participation reeks this time round. Have you noticed players and media on the US side complaining about the way first the Dominican and then Puerto Rico celebrated their wins? Pathetic. Very poor sportsmanship on the USA's part. Winners celebrate. Losers go home. Losers go home, and if they have any class at all, losers keep their mouths shut. Once again we find ourselves saying, note to the USA; this tournament means a lot to the Dominican and Puerto Rico, and all the other teams, bar the USA. With that in mind, you should expect them to celebrate their backsides off.
This is where we need to broach the topic of the USA's attitude towards international sports. In 2007 it was major news that LeBron James decided he would play for the Dream Team. You can say with authority than in every other corner of the World, that kind of news would only have been of the headline variety if the player had decided not to play for his country.
Playing for your country should not be an option. Every single United States eligible player who did not give themselves up fully for the World Baseball Classic should be absolutely ashamed of themselves The only reason anyone should be excused is if they were injured. That's it. There is absolutely no other valid reason.
That's how all other countries in the entire World approach international sports. And that's why they both play and celebrate the game so hard. Their love for playing for their country.
|Japanese fans celebrate during the World Baseball Classic
It is wildly ironic to be talking about this particularly in the case of the United States. The Third Reich would blush at the plastic Patriotism that is on display at every United States sporting event these days. Bombers designed to kill thousands of people flying over head, thousands of military personnel in the stands, flags waving everywhere and nationalist chants emanating from the stands. USA! USA! However, when the country needs its best players on the diamond, where are they?
Injured? No doubt a few were. Worried about injuring themselves? Probably another bunch fall under that category. Protecting themselves and their financial future, wrapping themselves in cotton wool before the MLB season starts? That's probably the most prevalent excuse, right?
What sets the other countries that are superior to the USA on the diamond apart is their players would literally do anything for their country.
They would play through injury for their country, and they would, and do, put their bodies on the line just for the honour of wearing their countries jersey.
It's simple, easy and true patriotism. Nothing manufactured, nothing glossy and nothing fake. Your country comes calling, you put the jersey on.
There. Are. No. Valid. Excuses.
Last night on Twitter one of the beaten USA players said a graceful thank you to those who supported the team the last week. He said he wished they had done better. Then he finished by blubbering 'The USA is still the greatest country in the World'.
That's exactly the attitude that is preventing the USA from winning the World Baseball Classic.
That very arrogance, taking the place of the true-patriotism shown by all the other countries that take part, is one of the restraints that are preventing the USA from progressing in the tournament. Until the USA is humble about the WBC, until everybody, press, people, players all chip in an invest in this tournament, until that time, the USA certainly is not the greatest country in the World. They didn't even make the semi finals.
Until everyone involved in Team USA understands and admits that they are not the greatest in the World, and knuckles down to try and change that situation, they will always just be another team looking on as the real greatest international baseball teams in the World go about their business.
|Japan - Note to USA, the actual greatest.
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