Bradford Applin

I’ve decided to extend my deadline for this column to 12:01 a.m. EST on Thursday. You see, I’m having a tremendously difficult time deciding on a topic for this column. Wait, no, I’ll have it done by midnight Friday. By then I’m sure to have come to a conclusion. On second thought, I’ll just get it done by Wednesday of finals week. Cool?

No, not cool. Nor is it remotely acceptable or professional to be moving my deadline back on whims based solely on my inability to perform my task. But apparently that doesn’t matter to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue who has extended the deadline for free agency three times (and counting) as a result of the owners and players union’s inability to agree on a revenue sharing plan.

Now, there’s nothing that inspires sympathy in me quite like billionaires arguing with millionaires. My heart aches for the billionaire owners who want to ensure their teams are profitable, and my soul is saddened for the millionaire players who want just want their fair share.

But in the words of Stephen A. Smith (but not at his decibel level, I’ll spare your ears bleeding) quite frankly, I just don’t care what is classified as “shared revenue” or whether the players get 56 percent of it, 60 percent of it or somewhere in between. Both sides should be grateful that their business is thriving and should just hammer out a deal, rather than put the future of their sport in jeopardy. I know a few people from the NHL who would love to be guest motivational speakers in your meetings (and we all know they need the money). The deal will work itself out, regardless of whether the press is covering it like an outbreak of the bird flu.

Instead, I’d rather implore you to ignore the NFL labor negotiations, and pay attention to the World Baseball Classic that is already underway.

Maybe the afterglow of the Olympics has left me suffering withdrawals for opportunities to display my patriotism. Perhaps I need something to fill the void that was created by the failures of Bode Miller and the like. Or maybe I just need an excuse to paint my face to match the American flag draped over my shoulder, as I run around my apartment chanting “U-S-A” after every Chipper Jones home run: Probably the last one.

Either way, this is the first (and possibly the last) World Baseball Classic. As I attempt to dodge the amphetamine-enhanced assailants sent by MLB commissioner Bug Selig for suggesting his brainchild may flop, let me clarify. The potential this has for being the only WBC in history only gives us a greater incentive to watch. Whether the WBC turns into a train wreck or a blueprint for success, I can’t wait to find out.

Consider the possible scenarios given by the unique rules in place, as well as the overall impact of the tournament. The fifth inning and seventh inning mercy rules of 15 and 10 runs respectively give the opportunity for countries to be publicly humiliated on new levels. Imagine the disgrace that would be felt by Italians everywhere if David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre of the Dominican Republic turned an international game between the two countries into a blowout that had to be called early like a little league game. Imagine the outrage from Dominicans as the game is called in the fifth inning and the unofficial Dominican Republic home run derby is called to a close.

The limits on pitch count (65, 80, and 95 as the tournament progresses) and the requirements for rest between starts means we could have unprecedented numbers of pitchers throwing in game; especially in round one. Already the U.S. used 7 pitchers in its first game with Mexico, six of which only threw one inning. I’m rooting for a game to go into extra innings where teams are forced to keep bringing in new pitchers when they exceed their pitch counts. I can already feel the drama as Derek Lee attempts to foul off strikes, knowing that if he can get Bartolo Colon to throw 2 more pitches, the Dominican Republic will be forced to pitch Albert Pujols.

I’m also rooting for a game to end in a tie (seeing as they can after 14 innings in the first two rounds). If Selig thought America’s reaction to ending the all-star game in a tie was bad, wait until he sees the reaction from angry international mobs who are only tolerant of ties in fA§tbol.

George Steinbrenner already posted a sign at the Yankees spring training, blaming the MLB for taking their star players for a couple weeks. Allow yourself to think what would happen if Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon or Alex Rodriguez were injured during the tournament. Not only would I fully expect Selig to enter the witness protection program, I wouldn’t be surprised to read in the next morning’s papers that Steinbrenner imploded, opening up a worm hole to an alternate dimension where the MLB had a salary cap.

Of course, there’s always the chance that your native country could win the tournament, thereby increasing your international bragging rights and your country’s merchandise revenue. Which would result in an improved national economy, allowing your country to feed poor, starving children. You are in favor or feeding starving children, right?

Need one more reason to watch? How about for me; seeing as we do not get ESPN2 here on campus in Cerro Vista, and we definitely do not get ESPN Deportes (Hoooooooooomeruuuuuun!) I will have a limited selection of games to watch. Go ahead: Watch the WBC. Do it for me, your country and your own amusement.

Bradford Applin is a sophomore aerospace engineer. He is excited that he was able to justifiably write Pujols and it isn’t even April yet. He can be reached for feedback at bapplin@calpoly.edu

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