Five Questions Ahead of the World Baseball Classic

Here are five questions ahead of the 2013 World Baseball Classic:

1. What non-MLB player will most impress people? Who will be this year’s Yu Darvish, Aroldis Chapman, pre-injury Dice-K or Yoennis Cespedes?

2. Is this finally the year that Team USA wins it, or even makes it to the finals?

3. How will attendance be outside of certain marquee games? In Japan in previous WBCs, for example, attendance was far smaller in games that didn’t have Japan playing, and a similar thing happened in Taiwan in the qualifiers last November. In the USA, while attendance has been generally better, they still fluctuate greatly, with only the Semi-Finals and Finals really being guaranteed to have a gigantic crowd.

4. Will a Cinderella emerge, like how the Netherlands shocked the Dominican Republic in 2009?

5. Will we have an international incident? There are certainly opportunities, given the fact that this is an international competition that features some countries that don’t particularly like each other (Japan and China, for example, have been having a heated territorial dispute over some islands), and there’s always the chance a Cuban might defect. While it’s unlikely that there will be any action by players (with the exception of the defections, of course), it’s possible that fans might not be as restrained.