America's Past Prime

Ssssh. Hear that? Is it butterflies peein' in a cotton field? Vince Young's gears turnin'? Bode Miller's Olympic medals clanging together? Nope, just the hollow clamor surrounding the World Baseball Classic. Chalk up another one for Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig. First, despite a mountain of evidence that Barry Bonds repeatedly cheated, broke the law and generally acted as the sport's No. 1 asshole, the crappy commish refuses to even suspend the steroid slugger, much less kick his bloated butt out of the sport.

And now the so-called Classic, which he promised would be a "watershed moment for baseball," is causing all the commotion of a tall can of corn popped to medium left field. Even worse, it's on the verge of climaxing without the United States' team of all-stars, which has already lost to Canada and South Korea.

Not going to bore you with Pythagorean theorems and mathematical percentages, but if Japan beats South Korea Wednesday night by seven or fewer runs in a nine-inning game (oof), there's like a really, really good chance the American team of MLB stars, including Texas Rangers Michael Young and Mark Teixeira, won't even make it out of the second round. We invented this sport, for Christ's sake. It's like the U.S. finishing fifth in fast-food restaurants or boob jobs.

A South Korea win coupled with a U.S. win over Mexico could push us into the semifinals, but, still, this is our country's most embarrassing sports snort since, oh, last month's Olympic hockey flop or the basketball Dream Team settling for bronze in Greece two summers ago. When South Korea beat the U.S. team Monday night, 7-3, fans at Anaheim Angel Stadium booed the home team--and Bonds was nowhere near the park. Curiously, neither was Selig. —Richie Whitt

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