Exciting times. The first game of the WBC has been played, and we already have our first upset. Lowest-ranked (41st in the world; every other team in the tourney is no worse than 20th) long-shot Israel somehow outdueled Korea 2-1 to win the opening game of the 2017 WBC. in case you missed it, which you almost surely did, Israel was the final team to qualify for the WBC, winning the final 4-team play in by beating Great Britain (4 years ago they lost that same game to Spain in extra innings). They are 200-1 to win the WBC, which most analysts consider very generous odds (1000-1 is probably more realistic). In fact, they WERE 60-1 against advancing, though with this win they will surely have much lower odds of making the next round.
There are 3 games today (that game was played today, our time, but yesterday in the far east), but the US doesn’t play until Friday, where we are home against Colombia.
This year is the USA’s best team ever, though many of the brightest stars (Mike Trout anyone?) still are missing in action. The 1992 Dream Team (Olympic Basketball) this decidedly ISN’T but at least our roster is major league players, a step forward from past WBCs. I think the Dominican (defending champs) is loaded, Japan is always dangerous, and Cuba a perpetual mystery. USA is in a 4-team bracket with the Dominican, so we can’t afford to lose to Colombia or Canada, or we risk not advancing (basically you have to win 2 of 3, so a loss to one of the others means we have to beat Dominican).
The games are available on mlb.tv and also the mlb cable network (if you get cable) but of course the far east games are played at an inconvenient hour. mlb.tv, which is effectively a dvr, solves this problem.
March Madness will be under way before the WBC is half over, so I may be the only American paying attention, but at least they have ONE fan.