As I watch the WBC games, I'm filled with pride as I watch the USA perform well; yet, there is a lack of excitement I usually feel when rooting for my favorite team. I feel as though I'm cheering for individual players, rather than a cohesive team. It's hard to become excited when players like Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia excel, not because I dislike them personally and not even because they're Red Sox boys per se, but it's because I know their excellent play may continue into the regular season, constituting a bad omen of what to expect against our archenemy. Cheering them on just doesn't come easy and this dowses my excitement quite a bit.
Of course, this excuse for being anti-WBC is just not good enough, but there's also the cringing I experience when I hear about injuries to any of the players, fearing the loss of our own guys when the "real" games begin. This isn't the same as Spring Training where players might allow a fly ball to get away in order to stay whole. In the WBC, you're expected to do your best to win for your country, in fact, it becomes your patriotic duty; therefore, performing dangerous plays becomes very tempting, even expected. I hate to say this, but when it comes to baseball, loyalty to the New York Yankees comes before loyalty to my country, and I hope our guys feel the same if they're compelled to go diving into the stands in the name of patriotism (are you listening, Jeter?).
While the fear of injury is my biggest objection, I also find my allegiance scattered when I see any of our Yankees in the game. I want them all to do well no matter which team they're playing for. I'm glad my favorite player Mariano isn't playing for Panama because if he were closing against the USA, I'd be rooting for him, even if that meant a USA loss. There's no way I can wish Mariano to fail. This is no way to enjoy a baseball championship. I mean, let's face it, competition is what causes excitement and the lack of a cohesive team consisting of your favorite players leaves something to be desired in the competitive arena. Consequently, with so many obstacles and distractions, the WBC has become no more than a ritual of sorts as I watch our players going through the motions in a show of nationalism. For me, the WBC is just a reminder of how much I miss Yankees Baseball.