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Voice of the 'Fan

It may be time to reschedule the WBC

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The post-WBC injury bug struck again earlier this week, as two more players who took part in the March tournament went on the disabled list.

Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is back on the DL for the 2nd time this season. As was the case in April, "Dice-K" is suffering from shoulder issues related to his MVP performance for his native Japan in the WBC. The Red Sox, however, aren't sweating his absence this time, as John Smoltz, acquired from Atlanta in the off-season, is ready to make his season debut and will replace Matsuzaka in the rotation. When "Dice-K" comes back, probably after the All-Star Break, a rotation of Matsuzaka, Smoltz, Josh Beckett, & Tim Wakefield would be given consideration as one of the best in the majors.

The New York Mets placed All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran on the DL on Monday prior to their game vs. St. Louis due to a growing bone bruise behind his right knee. Beltran missed 2 games in May for the same reason, but with the Mets already missing star infielders Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes, Beltran and the Mets thought the injury might not be serious enough to warrant disabling him. It is now, though, and it couldn't come at a worse time.

The Mets have suffered the most from the "WBC Curse", if you will. Beltran becomes the 5th Met to be DL'd after playing in the WBC, following Delgado, Reyes, and pitchers Oliver Perez and JJ Putz. Reports have Perez possibly returning before the All-Star break, maybe as soon as this weekend, but I wouldn't put much stock in it.

If Commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig actually cared about the game, he'd give some serious consideration to moving the WBC to a post-season berth, after the World Series and before winter leagues begin play. Too many players, pitchers especially, have fallen victim to injury in the first half of the season. By moving the tournament to, say, the 2nd week in November, and having it end right before Thanksgiving, you also invite Fox & TBS to share broadcast rights with MLB Network and ESPN during an important ratings period for all 4 networks. If anyone gets hurt during the tournament if it were in November instead of March, they get 3-4 months to recover and prepare for Spring training.

Another interesting irony, I should note, is that agent Scott Boras, who represents Beltran, Perez, and Matsuzaka, among others, might be an important voice in moving the tournament on the calendar. Who knows how many of his other clients have also ended up DL'd as a result of the tournament?

The critics complained in April when the injuries first began to mount. If the epidemic continues right to the post-season, the chorus will be too much for the indifferent Selig to ignore. Would it be too much to think that he treats these athletes like they were used cars (his primary occupation)? Not really, but when you consider that the perceived IQ of the commissioner couldn't be any better or worse than former President (and former Rangers owner) George W. Bush, well........!

You've got 3 years, Bud. Act now, savor it later.


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