Appearing on the "Late Show with David Letterman" will not help you against Japan's pitching or Korea's fielding or Cuba's potent offense, but when 10 members of Team USA did that Thursday to read the Top Ten List for "reasons to watch the World Baseball Classic," it was another example of how much more fun this group is having than the 2006 team eliminated in the second round.
"It's weird how you can get this many guys together that like each other and have fun with each other," Adam Dunn said after homering earlier in the day to help USA beat the Phillies, 9-6, in an exhibition in Florida. He was one of those 10 who had the honor of reading the list, and here it was in case you missed it:
10. Jimmy Rollins: "Due to economic crisis, we all have to share same pair of pants."
9. Curtis Granderson: "Japan has one of them crazy robot shortstops."
8. Dustin Pedroia: "Because it's an international event, our right fielder is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."
7. Chipper Jones: "The winning team plays Neptune in the Galactic Baseball Classic."
6. Roy Oswalt: "It's fascinating seeing how players from other countries scratch themselves."
5. Adam Dunn: "You'll be part of a cherished baseball tradition dating all the way back to 2006." (Letterman added: "Oh, the stories they can tell.")
4. Ryan Braun: "Because of the metric system, games will be 6.83 innings."
3. Kevin Youkilis: "Before each game, get to sit through 30 different national anthems."
2. David Wright: "Australia's secret weapon: a fastball-throwing kangaroo."
1. Derek Jeter: "What else are you going to watch, hockey?"
The fact that Team USA opens against Canada on its turf at 2 p.m. ET Saturday in Toronto did not seem to be taken into consideration for that No. 1 reason. Hockey is the national sport of Canada. With any luck, no one up there will take umbrage, or at least they will understand that Jeter was just reading a writer's cue card.
What made the Top 10 list so memorable was the mere joy of watching 10 members of Team USA read each line, on camera remotely from a Florida baseball field. It was just another striking example of how rivals intertwine now and how odd it is to see them in different uniform colors.
Before and after reading the list, the 10 were shown side-by-side, waving at the camera. It was typical of the looseness exhibited by Team USA lately.
"Over the past few days," Jeter told reporters in Florida, "things have started to mesh a bit and by the time we get to Toronto, things will be even closer."
At that point, Team USA will be actively involved in a World Baseball Classic that was described by Letterman in this singular manner:
"A worldwide tournament of baseball activity that precedes the Major League Baseball season, not to be confused with the Fall Classic, also known as the World Series, which is limited to (North) American league teams."
Then Letterman noted that "16 countries and territories are competing in an event which can be seen on MLB Network and ESPN. It's like we're playing Scrabble."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.