March 7 marks the beginning of the World Baseball Classic as the best players from around the world compete in what is essentially baseball’s Olympics. Yes, baseball was an Olympic event in 2020, but let’s be real, that was a bigger joke than anything Marvel has put in its movie scripts recently. The WBC is where it’s at for determining the best baseball country in the world.
Now, obviously, everybody is going to want to root for their country of origin. Then there’s whatever team your favorite player is suiting up for, maybe your significant other’s country of origin, and maybe whatever jerseys you think look best. That’s a lot of teams to root for, but might I suggest adding one more to your list.
Baseball players with day jobs
This TikTok from Major League Baseball, posted yesterday asking what members of the Czech Republic team do for a living, blew me away. Their answers range from financial trader to PE teacher to student to woodworker! Now, in all fairness, the woodworker I’m talking about is the team’s third base coach, not an actual player, but still, that’s nuts. You think the third base coach for any top country in this WBC has to spend eight hours a day making tables for people? Zero chance! It’s incredible to see these people come together and represent their country. Just imagine your PE teacher being the center fielder for your nation’s baseball team! How cool would that be?! They’re going to get smoked, aren’t they?
Now, you might think if these people don’t play baseball for a living, they don’t stand a chance against a team like the United States, with a lineup full of All-Stars and MVPs. Thankfully, the Czech Republic won’t have to play them or the championship favorites, the Dominican Republic, until the knockout rounds. They will, however, have to play the third-biggest favorites, Japan — Saturday, March 11, at 5 a.m. ET. I’ve seen enough terrible Hallmark movies to know that this Czech Republic team should be feared though.
Despite what the odds might say, despite the lack of MLB-level talent on that team, despite the fact that every player on most of their opponents’ squads will have been prepping for this tournament every moment of every day for months at this point, the Czech Republic has heart. If there was a Hall of Fame for hearts somewhere in the world, this team’s plaque would be the biggest one in the entire building! They’ve got a student, they’ve got someone who can custom make each of their bats, and they’ve got their own Shohei Ohtani in Marek Minarik because he can pitch and play the field. They’ve got what it takes! HUZZAH!
Yeah, so if you want to put $10,000 on the Czech Republic not making it out of Pool B, that’d probably be a good bet. Might not even be worth it though, since their odds are so bad. Actually, just never mind, put it all on Japan to win that group.