Pride vs. Practicality

Like many Dodger fans, I was more than just a little upset when the 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters were announced on Thursday only to learn that there were zero Dodgers representing Team USA. “This is ridiculous,” I said to myself. “Where is the pride, where is the honor?”

…and then it struck me.

Aside from the second base position, the entire projected Dodgers Opening Day starting infield is participating in the WBC – Adrian Gonzalez at first base representing Team Mexico, Hanley Ramirez at shortstop representing Team Dominican Republic (although my guess is that he will probably DH), and Luis Cruz at third base also representing Team Mexico. And for good measure, you’ve got utility infielder Nick Punto representing Team Italy, minor league infielder Felipe Burin representing Team Brazil, and relievers Ronald Belisario, Paco Rodriguez and Peter Moylan representing Venezuela, Spain and Australia respectively.

In other words, six guys, or almost one quarter of the Dodgers current 25-man roster, will be participating in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (Moylan and Burin are currently not on either the 25-man or 40-man rosters).

The 2009 World Baseball Classic semi-final and final rounds were held at Dodger Stadium. It was a very exciting time, especially with Team USA i the semi-finals. (Photo credit - Kirby Lee)

The 2009 World Baseball Classic semi-final and final rounds were held at Dodger Stadium. It was a very exciting time, especially with Team USA in the semi-finals. (Photo credit – Kirby Lee)

Sure I would have loved to see Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke representing Team USA, but it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why none of them are – Kemp and Crawford are no brainers, Kershaw is trying to avoid further aggravation to his hip, and it’s a pretty safe bet that the guys signing Zack Greinke’s $142 million check do not particularly care to see their investment risk injury in a World Baseball Classic tournament that begins exactly three weeks into spring training. Keep in mind that Greinke would become the Dodgers number one starter if (Lord forbid) Kershaw’s hip flares up again.

Please understand that in no way am I questioning the patriotism of anyone within the Dodgers organization; in fact, I’d be willing to bet that to the man, they all would love to represent Team USA in the WBC. But the thing to keep in perspective here is that aside from a handful of guys, nearly everyone in spring training camp will be fighting for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

So what do you think – pride or practicality?

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6 Responses to “Pride vs. Practicality”

  1. KSparkuhl says:

    The WBC should be held AFTER the World Series…. or not at all. Eight months of baseball and MLB wants to risk injury to those players who are GUARANTEED to be paid if they get hurt? That makes absolutely no sense at all. And the parent club has no say in who stays or goes?

    Hanley Ramirez will be getting zero practice time at shortstop on the Dominican team. He’s listed as a third-baseman. That decision will leave him with very limited time to workout at short before the season starts. You want to talk about pride? This is Hanely’s pride talking.

    As wonderful a concept that the WBC is, my opinion is that it interferes heavily with MLB clubs and players readying for their respective seasons. I’m not a fan of the WBC due to this reason. I’m too selfish. I want the World Series Trophy back in the Dodgers Clubhouse and the WBC detracts from that goal.

    • Bluenose Dodger says:

      I agree Kevin. I don’t know when it should be played – after WS, during ST. I am just not that interested in it with ST underway. MLB – protect your players as best you can. Be practical. Really there is not much pride at stake.

      Hanley will be a DH. He got injured in the winter league and wound up as a DH. From Steve Dilbeck (Jan. 17): Jose Reyes figures to be their starting shortstop. And with Adrian Beltre at third and Robinson Cano at second, Ramirez is likely looking at DHing yet again. Plus, the Dominicans have strong-fielding Erik Aybar as the backup at short. The Dominicans list Ramirez as a third baseman.

  2. lindav says:

    Practicality – totally. The “team” Dodgers have done pretty much everthing they can to put us in contention for 2013 after all the dismal McCourt years. Injuries are a part of all baseball teams during the year – why in heaven’s name would they take a chance of injuries before the season. I’m a total patriot and I would hope the Dodgers team is also – so they should root for Team USA with all their hearts.

  3. CRANBROOK MIKE says:

    That was my exact thought when Curt brought up the fact that Joey Votto is not playing for Canada(Possible health reasons). But we do have Brett Lawrie and Justin Morneau. I will be at the Canadian games in Phoenix cheering on my countrymen. But I will not go in with too high of expectations. I suspect they will get a pretty good drubbing by Mexico and USA. We should be able to beat Italy.

  4. ebbetsfld says:

    Since my first concern is with the Dodgers, I really don’t give too much thought to the WBC. I don’t have Kevin’s concern with the timing as I think to play it after the World Series would be anti-climatic and would be subjecting the players to possible terrible weather as well as asking them to play when they are physically spent from an already too long season. Personally, i would prefer to have baseball returned to the Olympic games and let MLB take a one or two week hiatus to allow those of its players who wish to participate the opportunity while all the others cold use the time to relax, recuperate, and give us a great second half of the season in tip-top shape.

  5. OldBrooklynFan says:

    I just hope none of our players or any other players are injured.

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