Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Kevin Ryan0
Players and Fans Don’t Care About the WBC
Image courtesy of sxc.hu.
Kevin Ryan, Sports Editor
Just like the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic only happens once every four years, and this year marks the third time the WBC will be played.
This world baseball tournament, where all the best baseball players are supposed to represent their native country, is still a work in progress as the tournament is trying to gain recognition around the world and here in the United States. With that being said, the U.S. may be the most guilty country when it comes to its fans not caring about the tournament, or the players who are nominated deciding to decline the offer because they want to stay with their team for spring training.
For example, Justin Verlander, who is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, turned down the invitation because of the amount of innings he has thrown the past two years.
“I really want to pitch in it, but it’s not the right year for it,” Verlander told Tom Gage of The Detroit News. “If we hadn’t gone to the playoffs, it wouldn’t be a problem at all.”
Verlander went on to say, “I liked the idea of pitching for Team USA. I got to play on a national team when I was in college and it was one of the best experiences ever, so I’m pretty disappointed about that part of it.”
The former CY young isn’t the only high-profile player to say no to Team USA, as Andy Pettitte, David Price, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper all said thanks, but no thanks.
General managers of major league teams are even going against the U.S. and encouraging their players not to play in the classic. This ended up working for the Yankee GM Brian Cashman as he persuaded the 40-year-old Pettitte not to join the red, white and blue.
On the other side, the U.S. roster does have star power names such as R.A. Dickey, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Braun and Joe Mauer. It’s just a shame to see the country who invented the game and claims to be the best at it can’t actually go out on the field and prove it with its best players.
I do realize the Classic does fall at a critical time for major league players as teams are preparing for the upcoming season, but if a player is chosen to represent his country in front of the rest of the world, he should be obligated to do it.
I know contracts, money and other deals get in the way of the WBC, but this event only happens once every four years. Managers and GMs should be telling their players to go represent America instead of being selfish and holding them back. If this were to happen, I guarantee ratings would go up not only here in America but also around the world, and the WBC could become something similar to soccer’s FIFA World Cup.
Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening any time soon because of the world we live in today. Players are going to continue to sign big contracts and continue to pass on Team USA because they don’t want to risk anything. Some might say it’s the right thing to do, while people like me think it’s embarrassing to see the U.S. lose in the past two Classics.
Other than looking at a few articles online, I am the only person I know who is excited to watch the WBC get started. Team USA may not have as many star names as they should, but they can count on this guy for tuning in to see if Ryan Vogelsong, J.P. Arencibia and Glen Perkins can prove the world wrong and bring WBC trophy home, where it belongs.