Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is the WBC Tainted?

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I started thinking about how the sixth year of a decade has been a pretty tough one for Red Sox teams for the past 90 years: two World Series losses that formed part of the legend of futility, mixed with some cellar dwelling and a post-AL Championship hangover. 1996 featured the terrible start. 2006, as we remember all too well, was the year that a team with a hot start and post-season potential suffered injuries and massacres to limp into third place in a finish that was painful to behold.

2006 was also the year of the first World Baseball Classic. I enjoyed the games at the time, but when Varitek, Timlin, and other players started pulling up lame in the middle of the season, I could see why some could cast blame on Bud Selig and his crazy ideas. Three years later, we've another WBC. This time, one of our starting pitchers played a starring role, helping to capture another title for his home country while pitching a buttload of innings - almost five innings per start - a time when most pitchers are still stretching themselves out. Now he's fighting arm fatigue and a stint on the disabled list. I'm not saying the WBC is completely to blame, but it's certainly a very easy scapegoat and Dice-K on the DL will be another nail in the coffin in the minds of many fans.