Just a week after the Marlins have been awarded the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star game, the Fish and owner Jeffrey Loria have put in a bid to host 2017 World Baseball Classic games. From every angle Miami is the perfect city for the WBC to be held in. Miami is close to many of the island nations that participate in the classic, and have many immigrants from countries with rich baseball histories. Miami is also a major cultural center and boasts beautiful beaches and a party atmosphere to allure fans from out of town. And the most important part: the Marlins have one of the newest ballparks in the majors and have the capacity to support such a large event. One can only imagine the atmosphere in the USA ever met with Cuba or the Dominican Republic in a WBC game, the atmosphere would be electric.
"We're going to bid for the World Baseball Classic in 2017," Marlins president David Samson said Monday afternoon. "We're Miami. If we're not focusing on the globalization of baseball, then we're not doing our job. Miami is the gateway to Latin America. It is a growing city, in terms of importance."
For those of you unfamiliar with the World Baseball Classic it is the World Cup of baseball. Every four years the best players from around the world come together to compete in a modified double-elimination tournament playing for their country. In the 2013 Classic, the Dominican Republic defeated Puerto Rico winning the championship. The Fish hosted first round games in 2013 but are aiming to hold second round games or the final game.
Although the event has not gained a ton of popularity among causal fans in America, the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics were two of the most viewed sporting events in Japanese TV history. With the globalization of the game continuing, the World Baseball Classic could be gaining traction and has the potential to become the "World Cup of Baseball". While Baseball isn't anywhere close to the popularity of Soccer throughout the world, it has the potential to be in close second. And with relations between the US and Cuba getting better, we could discover a whole new crop of Cuban baseball players by 2017 who will go on to be stars in the majors.
Regardless of what you think of Loria, one thing is for sure, he is committed to bringing high profile events to his venue and that is respectable. Although there is still hard feelings on the part of the Miami-Dade Community, the potential of having two massive baseball events in Miami in 2017 will be great for local businesses.The Marlins rank 27th in attendance in Major League Baseball despite having a beautiful new ballpark. A lot of that can be attributed to Loria tearing down the team after his infamous spending spree in 2012 and the team being anywhere from bad to mediocre the last few years. But events like the All-Star Game and World Baseball Classic could increase interest in the sport and the Marlins in the Miami area, and that's never a bad thing.