All I ever hear from baseball analysts is what a pain and bad idea this World Baseball Classic is in terms of teams needing to shuffle around lineups and the risk of injuries for an exhibition game and the modified rules for pitching, etc, etc.  I’m enjoying the games.

First off, Team USA actually cares about it this time around.  They were embarrassed in 2006.  You see the players smiling and laughing in the dugout. It’s great to see. 

Second, I enjoy watching how much fans from other countries love cheering their teams on.  In Japan, they’ve got cheerleaders in the outfield bleachers, fans chanting songs.  There are fans from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with their faces painted and waving flags.

Last, if nothing else, the World Baseball Classic provides competitive baseball with talented players.  I’m not about to drop a subscription fee to MLB.com to watch Albert Pujols take a couple of swings or Gil Meche to pitch two innings before they give way to guys I’ll probably never hear from again.

Anyway, here’s a quick rundown of what players are doing that have ties to the Royals and Cardinals or the state of Missouri. 

Royals’ second baseman Mark Teahen of Canada is 1 for 6 with a double, two walks and two strikeouts.  KC’s catcher Miguel Olivo is 3 for 6, including two home runs and 5 RBI and shortstop Mike Aviles is 2 for 8, he has a double and a walk.  Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is 1 for 4, that two run double sparked a 3-1 win over the Netherlands, and Ray Chang who played his high school and college ball for Rockhurst is 5 for 11 with a home run and 2 RBI, hitting .455 for China. 

On the pitching side, Royals’ closer Joakim Soria has pitched one inning, and former Missouri State alum Brad Ziegler who set the record last year for most consecutive innings without giving up a run to start a career has pitched one inning and has given up two runs on a homer.