Chris Archer and Team U.S.A. begin play in the World Baseball Classic on Friday. They stand as good a chance at winning as the U.S. team ever does. That chance: decent enough, given their talent, even if they don’t have the best available U.S. talent.
Archer, however, has greater aspirations for the Team U.S.A. than merely winning the WBC. He wants it to help unite America. At least for a while. Via ESPN.com:
“Given the timing and the circumstances of our country, I think it’s a great opportunity for us, temporarily, to show we are united, regardless of the turmoil and things going on here and other places in the world. So it’s always been a dream. And what’s going on in the country right now makes it even better.”
Archer didn’t get super specific about that turmoil, but he expanded a bit on what he hoped the U.S. team could show:
“Just that we are all unified, at least in my opinion. And it is a beautiful country of diversity and freedom and a lot of other things that other countries don’t have. So for this moment in time, for this next two weeks, we’re going to put on this jersey with pride and show we’re diverse, we’re united, and what USA is really all about.”
It’s an admirable sentiment. And the idea that sports can help unify people is an admirable aspiration.
I suspect, however, that a baseball tournament that many actual baseball players don’t care about isn’t going to register very strongly with a great number of Americans. And I fear that our divisions are so strong that virtually nothing can break through them. At least for the time being.