***Don’t know what this comic is referring to?  Take a look

Congratulations to the Dominican Republic, winning the World Baseball Classic in what has been a fun contest.

I am a big Classic supporter and believer.  It’s an important event for baseball worldwide and bringing more prestige and attention to the sport.  But it has some flaws that still need to be addressed before it can be taken as seriously as the Commissioner wants it to be.

In quick order, here’s my list of suggestions:

Either get the MLB Network in more American homes, or get the WBC off the MLB Network.  Many of my friends were at least moderately interested in it, to the same degree many people are moderately interested in the Olympics.  They don’t watch it hardcore, but if it’s one they’d tune in.  But they couldn’t with the Classic.  For everyone around me, MLB Network is only on an expensive cable package, and few of my peers can afford it.  You want to talk about the lack of interest in something?  It’s usually about access.

Get the umpires to take it seriously.  Human element and blah blah, the balls and strikes were ridiculous in this Classic.  The umps were all over the place (especially a few of the American umps…you know who you are).  The American parks have Questec…use it!  It was painful to watch some of the calls that were made.

Get the owners to take it seriously.  The fans will follow the players…except when the AL’s most popular player (and Vernon Wells) sits in the stands.  Do what it takes so that owners and team officials will help encourage players to go.  This may become hard since a couple of big stars like David Wright and Hanley Ramirez got injured.  It will be forgotten that this is the first time players had anything close to serious injuries happen in the WBC, but there are still more injuries that happen in Spring Training in general.  Get the best Americans out there, and more Americans will take it serious.

Fix the Bracket.  My father is one of the smartest men I know.  He’s as close to a rocket scientist as it gets.  But when I had to explain what was happening in each round, when teams actually got eliminated and when they got to keep playing, he was left scratching his head.  Why does each round work differently?  Why is one side in their second round before some first rounds have even begun?  I also have to ask if a week off for travel is too much, considering how the Eastern Hemisphere teams did in the semifinals.

Don’t play the same damn commercial every commercial break. If someone sings “Sometimes, I get a good feeling” to me in the next 8 months, I’m going to punch him in the mouth.  And MLB is to blame for that damn commercial to get overplayed like songs on L.A. pop radio.

All of these will help in 2017.  So get on it, baseball.  I want to see the sport expand, but there’s a long way to go before it truly can.