Depressed Mets Fan

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Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Koufax’

David Wright, no one else, to play in World Baseball Classic

Posted by jmkraft on December 23, 2008

According to the New York Post, among others, David Wright has agreed to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Because Alex Rodriguez will play for the Dominican Republic, Wright will start, alongside Derek Jeter

I think it’s great that Wright is playing for his country, and I’m ashamed that, unfortunately, he will not be joined by the best players that we have to offer. A laundry list of stars, including Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge, Cole Hamels, Brandon Webb, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Josh Beckett, have decided not to play in the biannual event, because they would rather hang out in Florida or Arizona, and not risk injuring themselves before the season begins.

The injury claim has some merit, but it harkens back to a similar type of excuse, which is the one that football players use to turn the Pro Bowl into a joke. There are many WBC detractors who say that the event is a farse, and has no legitimacy. But the question is, how does the World Baseball Classic gain legitimacy if some of the top players in the game stay away? 

As a fan of the game of soccer, I cannot even begin to imagine the reaction should David Beckham refuse to play for England, Cristiano Ronaldo not play for Portugal, or Ronaldinho say no to Brazil. Why, then, should it be acceptable for Sabathia, Beckett, or Howard to sit out for Team USA? There is a certain element of pride that comes with playing for one’s country, and it’s a shame that certain athletes can’t see that. Complain all you want about the timing, about how you’d rather prepare for the season, but trust me here, if Sandy Koufax, Jackie Robinson, or Babe Ruth were asked to play for Team USA, they would jump at the opportunity. 

Part of what makes the World Baseball Classic a great event is watching teams like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, or Venezuela play with the ferocity of national pride. It’s a shame that in a country that counts baseball as its National Pasttime, we can’t do the same.

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