FORT MYERS, Fla. — The World Baseball Classic is under way. I’ll forgive you if you weren’t aware that Israel shocked South Korea in extra innings Monday to begin the tournament. You’re not alone.

Chances are, you didn’t set your alarm and get up at 4:30 a.m. to watch Xander Bogaerts and the Netherlands play their opener. That would put you in the majority.

The WBC is a quadrennial conundrum that leaves us wondering if this is all worth it. The event has become wildly popular in some countries. South Korea, Japan, Mexico and the Dominican Republic look forward to the event every four years.

The United States? Not so much.

Players are torn between national pride and the demands of a major league season. Jackie Bradley Jr., on the original list of potential players for the U.S. team, said he quickly dismissed any thoughts of wearing the red, white and blue. Bradley said the timing wasn’t right to ramp up for games in early March before easing back into spring training after the tournament, only to ramp back up for the start of the major league season.

Bradley thought it was more important to focus solely on the Red Sox season ahead.

Manager John Farrell and the Red Sox cannot stop a healthy player from representing his country in the WBC. The only time a team can get involved is when a country asks for a player who has recently been injured.

That’s why Hanley Ramirez, nursing a sore shoulder, had to pull out of the Dominican team last week. Hanley’s shoulder can’t be too sore; he played for the Sox over the weekend. He just didn’t want to risk further injury by playing in high-intensity games.

Last season, Bogaerts battled fatigue over the final weeks of the season. This spring, he’s on a Dutch team that could play in Seoul, Tokyo and Los Angeles before the Red Sox season begins. He’ll be playing third base, as Andrelton Simmons plays short.

None of this seems ideal for the preparation Bogaerts needs to be Boston’s everyday shortstop. He’s playing in the WBC because he is honored, and because he felt his experience with the Dutch team in 2013 was a positive one.

Meanwhile, spring training is longer than ever because of the WBC. New Red Sox ace Chris Sale didn’t pitch in a game until Monday – 12 days after the start of the Grapefruit League schedule. Dustin Pedroia has been getting two at-bats before coming out of his early spring training games. Some players will be getting a three-day break from games later this spring.

All of this is to accommodate a tournament few here in the U.S. will watch. What we will keep a close eye on is how many WBC pitchers suffer injuries this season.

Here’s a better idea: follow the NHL’s lead and place the international showdown during an extended All-Star break every four years. Have eight teams in the field. Make it a six-day event, with best 2-of-3 quarterfinals followed by single elimination games. In all, make it an eight-day All-Star break, with doubleheaders in May and June to make up for lost time.

The NHL has done it for the Winter Olympics, and those hockey tournaments helped the game get additional attention during the season.

The WBC could do the same. A gold-medal game on a July night with players in midseason condition would capture our attention. It would also increase an appetite for baseball over the second half of the season.

And it would allow players to spend March getting ready for the long season ahead. Which is exactly what spring training is for.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.