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Poll Question: Should he or Shouldn't he?

Now that there have been a fair amount of responses to the poll question, I'd like to take some time to discuss it.

As everyone knows, this is the first time the WBC will be staged, and it hasn't gotten off to the best of starts. First, Alex Rodriguez couldn't make up his mind about which team to play for, so he announced that he'll sit out the tournament. After being lambasted by the public for his indecisiveness, he decided that he'd like to play after all -- for the United States. As could only be expected, the Dominican Republic sympathizers were vehemently opposed to his decision, most notably one Pedro J. Martinez. Also, lost in the will-he-won't-he drama was Cuba's situation. Why this issue only came to light just several months before the start of the tournament is beyond me. Luckily it's been resolved.

Now, the problem du jour is the alarming rate at which players are declining, or hinting at declining, the opportunity to play in the tournament. Just recently, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson joined those who said they wouldn't be capable of playing in this year's tournament. There are many very accomplished players left to compete, to be sure, but this trend is most alarming.

With the amount of players dropping out, this tournament appears as though it'll follow the path of Olympic basketball rather than World Cup soccer. Rather than fielding the best players in the world, lesser players (though still supremely talented in their own right) will make the team. Not only will the level of play slightly decrease, but the legitimacy of the tournament, and consequently the fans' ineterest, will be compromised in the process. This is most evident with men's Olympic basketball, which has become a joke within the past ten years.

Ultimately, if the tournament is to ever come close to matching the success of the World Cup of soccer, it'll depend on the non-North American nations. Since I have very little hope that those in North America will take this tournament seriously, I feel the tournament's success will depend on the actions of the other participating nations. And who knows, perhaps a convincing victory by a team like Venezuela or the Dominican Republic in this year's WBC will motivate the U.S. to take a more serious approach the next time around.

In the end, I believe that Roy Halladay, much like other players, will opt not to play for the United States. Let's hope players from other countries won't follow suit.