Tomorrow morning kicks off the World Baseball Classic, as defending champion Japan takes on China in a first-round game (ESPN, 4:30 a.m.)
There have been debates over the merits over the WBC, but I think it's a positive advancement for the game of baseball for a variety of reasons:
--It presents the game on an international level, giving baseball its own version of soccer's World Cup, the world's most-watched sporting event.
--It diverts attention from the steroid's scandal.
--It showcases the best in international talent, plus allows viewers to see a country's various "Dream Teams."
The only problem I have with the WBC is its timing: I think it should be in November, after the regular MLB season is over, not in March, during spring training. As a baseball fan, I'd rather players focus on the upcoming season rather than play in competitive games in which they may not be fully ready for.
On the other hand, holding the games in November may mean a time where both players and fans are "baseball-ed out." I certainly don't think the regular season should be halted for the WBC, nor do I think it should continue while several star players are playing in the WBC.
So perhaps March is the best compromise. Certainly, the last one proved to be a pretty good showcase, as Japan was the surprise winner and the US didn't even make the finals.
Who is going to win this time around? I plan on tuning in and finding out.
WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: It's a bad news/good news scenario for "Life On Mars" (ABC, 10 p.m.). The bad news is that ABC is ending the show after 17 episodes. The good news is that the network gave the show's producers enough time to wrap things up with a definitive ending, something fans of other ABC shows like "Pushing Daisies" and "Eli Stone" won't get. As much as I like to criticize ABC, it's hard to find fault with them here. They heavily promoted the show and gave it two cushy timeslots, following both "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost." In the end, LOM simply didn't get the viewers. But at least the fans of the show should get their questions answered. Tonight's episode follows a Sawyer-centric "Lost" at 9 p.m., with a new recurring character played by "24's" Reiko Aylesworth debuting tonight.
"Lie To Me" (Fox, 9 p.m.) returns after a two-week absence and follows a new "American Idol" at 8 p.m. "Knight Rider" is NBC's lone new offering tonight, unfortunately.
"America's Next Top Model" (CW, 8 p.m.) begins its new season with a two-hour long episode.
On cable, "Damages" (FX, 10 p.m.) is brand new.