I watched the last few innings of the final of the World Baseball Classic last night. It was a great game, with Japan beating S.Korea 3-2 before a crowd of rabid fans from both countries. It looked like a great atmosphere, two teams who are intense rivals from countries with a history of not being the best of friends.
Both teams had their best players in the game. The night before, when Japan beat the US to get into the final, the US fielded a team with a career utility player at first, not Ryan Howard or Mark Texiera, and right field manned by Ryan Braun,one of the worst fielders in baseball. In very few positions could you argue the US had sent it's best players, because most US player just didn't care, as, apparently, most US fans didn't.
So, the question is: Why don't Americans care about international competition? Oh, sure, we pay attention to the Olympics, but even then only when we are spoonfed the American athletes who are winning medals. Are we so ethno-centric that we don't think the rest of the world matters? I'd say that is pretty much the truth. To the rest of the world, patriotism is cheering on your national team, particularly in the World Cup, against the rest of the world. To Americans, it means ignoring the rest of the world. So we miss out on these great moments. What a pity.