by Stal Herz - 01/21/2006
For months, the United States was trying to stop Cuba from participating in the upcoming World Baseball Classic because it did not want a communist country receiving financial benefits from the event.
Apparently the spread of Coca Cola through China is not enough.
Sport is best when it’s allowed to be the great equalizer of society because the playing field is not tainted by political agendas and campaigns. There is a clear winner and looser in all of the competitions and nobody dies. Truly, it may be the last venue of free expression and resolution in the modern world.
So why was the United States, the beacon of free speech and installer of democracy, the one trying to control the playing field by keeping the 2004 Olympic champions from competing?
Cuba had repeatedly said that its sole interest was in playing baseball, in fact, Fidel Castro even offered and will now donate money made during the event to the victims of hurricane Katrina.
Once again, the United States comes out looking like the big bully in a global arena when it had a chance to be an ambassador to the world as the creators of the game. It was only after a reapplication that the treasury department waved the preventative clause, allowing the decision to be overturned.
Perhaps there was a little something extra in that application envelope.
Castro’s passion for baseball came in his younger days as a pitcher with hopes of making it to the major leagues. Urban legend claims that he once had a try out with the Washington Senators.
General word on the Big F train was that while the passion was there, the stuff just wasn’t. See, it’s always good to have a back up plan.
Now that Cuba is in, we get a peek through the knothole of what has become of America’s game.
While the United States are trotting out their show ponies of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter and the recently added Alex Rodriguez, the odds on favorite would have to be the Dominican Republic team featuring Albert Pujols, Pedro, Big Papa and Man Ram.
The build up of the World Baseball Classic began at the All Star game when individual players represented countries and not themselves. Before today, major league baseball was threatening to withdraw its sanction if the Bush Administration didn’t reverse its decision.
The sounds of Jesse Owens’ feet flying across that track in Berlin continue to lead future generations of athletes to overcome politics and galvanize the global community to gather for enjoyment and recreation instead of the trading of money and resources.
This event could be a major turning point in baseball history. There is no doubt that what was once the crown jewel of the American sporting landscape is now far behind football and basketball. While the home market may be saturated, the New World Order features posts of capitalism in all time zones and are in need of entertainment to spend their new found freedom on.
Baseball plans on delivering that and more with its world wide marketing plan.
You can bet that countries will come to a standstill as their teams compete against each other. National pride is felt deeper around the world then it is in America. Perhaps this will inspire a new sense of nationalism that has been absent in this country for quite awhile.
Interestingly enough, the best players in the game are not from America.
Baseball seems to be the perfect ambassador for peace. If it were a world football tournament, Troy Polamalu over the middle on a Tight End from India might not cause the white doves to soar as high.
There is a meditation in baseball that the world can use right about now. Let’s just be thankful that big business still controls the government, or this classic might never have been witnessed.
Now that the teams are set, odds on the games are surfacing.
Baseball - a game for the earth and its people.
Current Odds to Win World Baseball Classic
Dominican Republic 1/1
Puerto Rico 9/1
South Africa 400/1
The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Doc's football picks service.