I was a little discouraged after the USA’s loss to Puerto Rico last night, especially after getting trounced the night before by the Dominican Republic. I felt bad for our players who gave of themselves to the cause of honor and glory for the good old USA. We all watched as some of their own teammates on Team Puerto Rico were bathing themselves in pride and victory, the first time their country advanced this far in the Classic.
The fact that I have tickets to the Finals in San Francisco on Tuesday didn’t help either. I mean who wants to spend the time and money to watch a game that your team isn’t even playing in? Might as well watch it on television. So I’m watching a replay of the 2012 World Series final game, where I knew I could find solace, and headed for the internet to knock off the evening before retiring.
And that’s where I found this amazing article. It changes my perspective on everything about baseball. Now I can hardly wait for Sunday when the playoffs begin. I’m going to start watching these kids very closely, trying personally to find the next all-star rookie from within the ranks of these four teams. Good grief, I might even find a new calling as a baseball scout ~ don’t laugh, it could happen. Well probably not, but it gives me a whole new respect for those who are ~ scouts I mean.
I love the concept. I mean a true “World” Baseball Classic. After all, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about? In trying to promote baseball throughout the world wouldn’t it be a really great thing to have the World Series be just that, an honest-to-goodness world series?
Take a look at this great article and see what you think. I’m inspired. And kudos to Matthew Pouliot for writing it.
Repost from a Matthew Pouliot Article, HardballTalks, March 15, 2013.
Let’s face it: the World Baseball Classic’s uphill climb as an event worth watching wouldn’t gain any momentum if Team USA ran away with it.
That’s why it has to be pretty exciting for MLB to see Puerto Rico advance past the U.S. and join the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the WBC semifinals. While baseball hardly needs a boost in the Dominican and Japan, it’s standing in Puerto Rico and Europe figures to get at least a modest boost thanks to this month’s tournament.
In the short term especially, it’s money more than talent than MLB is hoping to gain from Europe. But getting Puerto Rican kids more interested in baseball would be a nice boon for the league. It’s no coincidence that all of Puerto Rico’s stars on the field Thursday were over 30 years old. The only actual position prospect on the team is the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. And while I like Houston’s Xavier Cedeno as a lefty specialist, none of the pitchers would seem to have grand futures in MLB, either.
Puerto Rico just hasn’t produced much major league talent since MLB put its prospects into the draft. MLB teams can no longer set up there and develop the players themselves, as they’ve long done in the Dominican Republic. A nice run in the WBC isn’t going to undo all of the damage, but it’s a little something to try and build on.
The Dutch island of Curacao is already producing talent and even more kids there could be inspired to pick up a baseball as Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts hopefully develop into major league stars. Throw in Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands’ infield could well rival the Dominican group come 2017.
As for the U.S. team, well, this was probably the best way for it to go down; it was competitive yet far from dominant. One imagines that the U.S. players will hear it from the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the clubhouse over these next several months. Whether that inspires a few more stars to suit up in 2017 remains to be seen; odds are the 2013 results will be largely forgotten a year from now. But I believe the next WBC will be viewed more favorably by the players. It’s not that we’ve gotten particularly high quality baseball from the teams, but we’ve seen a bunch of very competitive games and boisterous crowds. I think it’s the case that some of the guys who opted out — the Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers and Prince Fielders — have watched these games and felt like they’re missing out.