WBC decisions all about self-interest

Updated: March 2, 2013, 10:18 AM ET
By Buster Olney

A player approached the manager of his major league team and asked for some guidance in deciding whether to participate in the World Baseball Classic. The manager carefully explained that he was not allowed to tell the player what to do and that it was the player's decision to make. But he added this, as a thought: "Who pays your bills?"

That's really how perspectives on the WBC are shaped, and what they come down to: Who pays your bills?

There is incredible irony in the narrative that players and teams should put aside their self-interest and participate in the WBC for the sake of growing the game. The event is a business venture, not a charity drive; it's all about self-interest, and who benefits depends entirely on your perspective.

If you're the manager of an AL team and you are being evaluated on wins and losses for your team, you don't want to risk losing a star player in exhibitions, for the sake of your team's business agenda -- and for the sake of your business agenda. If you're an executive involved in developing the sport in international markets, you want the stars to participate in the WBC because that helps your business agenda.