Baseball doesn’t lend itself to nationalism like other sports. England and Argentina will always have bad blood not because of the Falklands, but because of Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal in the ‘86 World Cup. There was a national crisis when USA Basketball took bronze at the 2004 Olympics. By contrast, you probably didn’t read about the US failing to medal in the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic.
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Perhaps this year’s Classic will inspire more emotion. If nothing else, the Group D matchups should be entertaining, with events at Chase Field, 401 East Jefferson Street, and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 North Pima Road in Scottsdale. Group D will feature a US team that is the prohibitive favorite to win it all, a Canadian team that would be favored to win most groups, a Mexican team loaded with Major League talent, and Italy.