BY PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
The World Baseball Classic will never be as big as the World Series, but who says it ever has to be?Thursday's contest between the United States and the Dominican Republic demonstrated just how thrilling international baseball can be. 

Dancing in the aisles with faces painted and flags waving, fans provided a colorful backdrop to what undoubtedly was one of the best baseball games to ever have been played in the month of March. 

Naysayers claim the World Baseball Classic is nothing more than a glorified exhibition, but then you see the entire Dominican Republic dugout running onto the field to celebrate a go-ahead run in the eighth inning. That type of emotion does not surface during exhibition contests.

These games mean something. 

"I had to dial it down a few notches, for sure, coming back to Grapefruit League games after the WBC," said Phillies infielder Pete Orr, a member of Team Canada.

Timing will always be an issue for a tournament like this, but baseball now has an international contest it can be proud of.

- Patrick Gordon is the managing editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review.  Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Philabaseball.

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