The World’s Oldest Living Buffalo Tom fan on WEEI yesterday (Windows Media Player required), lowering the boom on Boston’s Manny Ramirez. :

I find him as distracted as any time I can ever remember him. He just doesn’t seem to be into the games at all. I had a fan come up to me at the ballpark and say “how in the world could you not pick Manny as one of the 5 best players in baseball?” Are you kidding me? I mean there were other priorities, the qualifications for the other selections were defense, baserunning, accountability, leadership. But I was just amazed, the guy was really angry about it.

Give Hal Bodley credit for looking at the big picture. While MLB and the Players Association have a unique opportunity to enhance baseball’s global appeal, USA Today’s Bodley is worried about messing with spring training.

Maybe I’m missing something, or too much a purist, but why does baseball need a world cup or the World Baseball Classic as it’s going to be called?

Spring training is a sacred time on baseball’s calendar, but now the best players are going to be flitting around the globe, representing their countries in this world affair.

Will winning this be more important than a World Series title? I hope not.

I’m mystified by how MLB and the union are going to pull this off.

If I were a manager or a general manager, I’d be concerned about the impact the tournament will have on spring training. Players could be lost to their teams for nearly three weeks, although MLB insists it’s more like two weeks. Spring training is vitally important for getting players ready for the season.