Participating in the World Baseball Classic

Some of the world's best players will be competing in the 2009 World Baseball Classic in March. Many current and former Phillies participated in the last tournament in 2006.

In this years tournament, many Major League players opted out of the global event. Brad Lidge, Cole Hamels, Chan Ho Park, and Ryan Howard are among Phillies who chose to sit out. Chase Utley partcipated in 2006, but is forced to sit out recovering from hip surgery.

Despite his suspension, J.C. Romero will participate on Team Puerto Rico. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino (USA), Matt Stairs (Canada), Ronny Pualino (Dominican Republic) and Carlos Ruiz (Panama) will be Phillies to participate in the event. Mike Schmidt will be apart of Team USA's coaching staff.

Minor leaguers Carlos Carasco (Venezula), Mike Bolsenbroek (Netherlands), Drew Naylor, Joel Naughton, Brad Harman (Australia), and Michael Spidale (Italy) will also participate.

Fomer Phillies Bobby Abreu, Carlos Silva, Endy Chavez (Venezula), Rod Barajas (Mexico), Brian Mazone, Nick Punto, Mike Costanzo (Italy), Rheal Cormier, R.J. Swindle (Canada), Travis Blackley (Australia), Randall Simon (Netherlands), and Bruce Chen (Panama) will also participate.

It is a shame baseball was eliminated from the Olympics since Major League players can't leave their teams during pennant races, but this could replace it. Although it may not be as big as soccer or hockey world events, it is important for many players to represent their countries, especially those from the Dominican Republic. The event itself is great, but for the Phillies sake, it might be better if some of their stars sit this one out.

There are many risks involved. A player could get hurt, and be done for the year. Having a Major League team losing one of their star players would be a huge blow to a team, especially one who has a chance to make the postseason. Although there is a 65 pitch limit for pitchers, there is always that risk, and pitching is one of the most important aspects of the game.

The Phillies did an excellent job of using Cole Hamels during the 2008 season. Hamels set a career high, and was third in all of baseball in innings pitched. The Phillies were careful not to overuse him, avoiding short rest. Hamels is more successful when he is rested. Hamels has a history of injuries, and the WBC could increase his risk of injury, rushing into competitive games. Hamels, normally a slow starter in Spring Training, needs extra time to get ready for the season.

Howard usually has excellent springs, so he would probably impact Team USA. Howard needs to use spring to see the ball better and work on mechanics to be consistent and cut down on strikeouts. It is also likely Howard will be hearing for arbitration during this time.

Brad Lidge is due for a blown save, unfortunately. Brad, you can blow as many saves as you want in Spring Training, so use that time wisely. Get it all out bud. Team USA wouldn't be too happy about that.

USA manager Davy Johnson stated that for the shortstop posistion he will not share time between Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins. If Jeter gets the job, it would be a disadvantage to Rollins. Rollins would not get the at bats he would normally get in Spring Training. This could lead to a slow start for Rollins.

Ronnie Paulino is in a similar situation as Rollins. Paulino will be a backup, therefore not getting at bats in.

For a minor leaguer such as Carrasco, participating in the event will effect his chances of being on the Major Leagues roster. The 5th spot in the Phillies rotation is up in the air, and Carrasco has a chance of getting the job. Chances may be slim, but participating in the WBC takes those chances away as it will be tougher for the Phillies coaching staff to evaluate him.

I'm a fan of the World Baseball Classic. I think it is excellent for the game of baseball and different countries. It promotes the game and gives us all a chance to see different players. I'm excited to watch, but from a biased Phillies standpoint, it is better some players report to camp.

For the counterpoint of this argument, please visit IRONPIGPEN: The Pork Stops Here!



Hey, I didn't know there was a pitch they do that thing in extra innings where they put runners on base after a while like at the Olympics?
This is a topic that I sincerely believe has no right or wrong answer.

I do believe if your country calls you to play shortstop you need to show up.

I also don't think it's unreasonable for Joe Owner to be concerned that Johnny Superstar, whom Mr. Owner pays $200 million per year, might get hurt. It is reasonable for Mr. Owner to want his employee to show up to work in return for such a hefty paycheck.

Back in the day, some powerful professional soccer teams like Real Madrid in Spain used to 'encourage' (with bonus payments) their foreign stars to tell their national teams they were injured when called. And, of course, players knew where the bread was buttered.

Nowadays, soccer has it worked out where if a player is injured and lost to a club, that club is compensated salary-wise (the national teams take out insurance policies).

Pro clubs want the players to play now because the experience from the high level of international competition is invaluable.

Plus, a powerhouse club such as Real Madrid now likes to be able to say, "We have the best players from all around the World, Beckham from England, Roberto Carlos from Brazil, Zidane from France, etc. in our team so come buy a ticket, see them play!"

Amanda said...

Go here and scroll down for the pitch count rules. They are for 2006, but I know there is a pinch count limit for this year because they were talking about it on MLB Network.. I had no idea there was such thing either until I saw their special.

There are also mercy rules. Game is called if team is up by 10 after 7. Up 15 after 5.

I'm not so sure about the extra inning rule. I'll have to look into that.

Jay Ballz said...

I agree with your point about the appeal of the WBC being greater because the olympics got rid of baseball.

Anonymous said...

Well perhaps my reasons are purely selfish in this matter, but I hate the WBC. I live in Clearwater and have had Spring Training season tickets for years. The last time the WBC was here the ST games were no fun because so many of the stars were gone from their teams when they played the Spring games. We get to see the Phillies vs team USA in an early exhibition, but then will not get to see the Phillies stars anymore as long as the USA remains active in the WBC.

I don’t spend $850 for a month worth of baseball games to watch minor league players. Heck it only costs me $450 for an entire summer's worth of that. ST is a great time to get to see the stars in a laid back atmosphere. With them all gone at the WBC it will be a let down. Especially with the Phils coming off the WS win when we want to see them in person even more.

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