JACK'S SMACK: World Baseball Classic timing a blow for the Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Baseball is truly a wonderful game. That's why it's our national pastime -- always has been, always will be.

It's a sport that nearly every kid growing up is exposed to.

We all have memories. I recall the days as a youngster on a farm in Illinois. I would take a slat from a wooden picket fence and use it as a bat, hitting rocks from a gravel road.

It was the best of two worlds for me.

Not only was I pretending to be Stan Musial, swatting rocks into an open corn field, but I would bark out the play-by-play commentary, trying to emulate broadcaster Harry Caray.

I always had a great fondness for the sport, though I despised how the players cheated during the steroid era.

The glory days of the Royals have certainly passed us by and now, just when it looks like this franchise has a chance to compete, here comes this stupid World Baseball Classic.

The Royals could lose six of their players for up to three weeks while they compete in the WBC.

It's the timing of it. Just when spring training gets going, the Royals will lose players like Salvy Perez, their prized young catcher. They need him more than ever with all the new pitchers in camp.

This whole thing is in response to baseball being dropped as an Olympic sport. Japan won both of these events and the Japanese must be the only country that really cares or embraces this format.

The WBC is currently on a four-year rotation. I see where many of the high-profile players are skipping this year's event.

Although the players are reporting earlier to spring training, the timing of the World Baseball Classic makes absolutely no sense.

That's Jack's Smack.

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