The World Baseball Classic will dominate baseball news in March, but it could be the last time it does so. At least if it doesn’t make a lot of money, reports Christian Moreno of ESPN.
The WBC, sponsored by the World Baseball Softball Confederation and supported by Major League Baseball and various professional baseball leagues around the world, was founded in 2005 and held its first tournament in 2006. Its impetus for creation was the removal of baseball as an Olympic sport for the 2012 games and, presumably, to continue on the tradition of Olympic-style international competition. That tradition, however, does not pay the bills on its own and does not bring forth the sorts of stakeholders the Olympics bring to underwrite a money-losing operation.
The 2017 tournament begins on March 6 in Seoul, Tokyo, Miami and Jalisco, Mexico, plays a semifinal in Tokyo and San Diego and then moves on to a final on March 22nd in Los Angeles.
If you’re a fan of the WBC, you’re going to want to hope that a lot of people buy some tickets or some gear to keep it going. If they don’t, and if this report is correct, any tickets or gear you buy may become far more historically significant souvenirs than you think.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.