Predictably, while I like watching the World Baseball Classic, I cringe at the thought of the Astros' best pitcher hurting himself for the regular season by pitching in it. Roy Oswalt did himself no favors in his four innings of work on Sunday, but he certainly didn't hurt himself either.
Everyone is used to the idea that it takes time for pitchers to get into shape. They may be able to throw, but they may not have the control or feel for their pitches that they do in June. While I don't think that was quite the case on Sunday, I do think Roy got a taste of playing a team with a completely different style than he usually sees.
Did you see some of those hits? Balls out of the strike zone, low, away, up and in, no matter where Roy put the ball, those pesky Japanese hitters managed to slap them for hits. Even Ichiro's double in the gap late in the game to seal the victory was slapped.
Isn't that what Major League Baseball wanted to see in this event? Many people are against it. Heck, some people have even claimed it's just a ruse to scout international players on American soil. That may be the case, but every so often, you get to see two completely different styles of play come up against each other, elevating this to actual, meaningful heights. So many of the MLB teams are built on the same model: home runs, pitching and defense. Isn't it refreshing to see that philosophy go head-to-head with a completely different view of the game? And to do so with (most) of the world's best players competing against each other? At a time of year when there is normally NO viewable baseball?
Again, I've said it before here, but I like the WBC. I think it works as a concept and in its execution. Even if it is an elaborate ploy to steal other countries' best players.