Nomar is the Latest to Back Out of the Classic
Last week I asked ‘Is the WBC Good For Baseball?’ and a week later I still have my doubts. A report came out late on Friday that Nomar Garciaparra is the latest to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic. Again, Nomar’s concern over the upcoming season was the reason given for his decision not to play for The Mexican National Team. Nomar joined an ever-growing list of players that have decided not to play for their country. But why? Are the players that have decided not to play right or wrong? Are they being selfish or are they really concerned about their team’s success in the upcoming season?
Earlier in the week, Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees announced he was not going to play in the WBC. He said he would be better served to participate in Spring Training with the Yankees than playing for the Dominican team behind Alfonso Soriano and Luis Castillo. Andy Pettitte and Tim Hudson also removed their names from Team USA and they both cited health reasons and concern about their team’s success in the upcoming season.
Mark O’Neal is watching Carlos Zambrano very closely according to a report in the Chicago Tribune on Thursday. Apparently the Cubs are not willing to allow Zambrano to participate in the WBC if they feel he is not ready to do so.
With so many players already removing their names from their Country’s roster, will there be the excitement around the games that MLB is hoping for? Bob Nightengale from USA Today/Sports Weekly was on Baseball Beat with Chuck Wilson on Friday afternoon and they discussed this topic. Nightengale said he is not crazy about the WBC and a lot of the people he has talked to are treating this as an All-Star Spring Training Game. He feels other countries are taking the WBC a lot more seriously than the USA and he mentioned that the average baseball fan does not know what the WBC is all about. He also believes that more players will back out of the games in the coming weeks.
I have heard and read that many of the clubs are worried about their players. The main concern tends to be that the players will go into the tournament not in game condition and because of the pride that is associated with playing for your country, will cause unforeseen injury. Many will argue that players get hurt during Spring Training games and while this is true, I wonder what and how a team will react if they lose their best player during the games.
Buck Martinez, the Manager of Team USA, thought a month ago he was in a win-win situation. I wonder what is going through his mind now. If MLB and Bud Selig are not careful, the Inaugural World Baseball Classic could end up being the one and only.