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Cole Hamels says what many players think about the WBC

Mar 6, 2013, 8:32 AM EDT

Cole Hamels

Most players will talk about how hard a choice it is to play or not to play in the WBC and talk about how such an honor it is to play for their country. And I’m sure there is a decent amount of truth to that. But I think, if push came to shove, most players would admit that they think like Cole Hamels does about the WBC:

“It’s tough. I know my allegiance is to the Phillies and this organization winning the World Series. I think winning the World Series is a little bit more important than whatever trophy they give for the World Baseball Classic. The World Series is ultimately the goal that I would go for no matter what they are throwing out there for the champions of the World Baseball Classic.”

He also noted that, at the time of the year the WBC is played, he does not have his competitive-level stuff working, so it wouldn’t be an ideal match anyway.

Of course, these comments came right after he got totally obliterated by the Dominican Republic team, so I imagine he was a tad more agitated by the exercise than he normally is, but I also think he speaks for more players than just himself when he says this.

  1. BigGreen89 - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Am I alone in thinking that most fans also really don’t give a crap about the WBC?

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      Most fans aren’t even sure what you are talking about when you say WBC. But those who do – yea, they don’t give a crap

    • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:43 AM


      • stoutfiles - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Chris, you make a living talking about baseball. The WBC gives you something interesting to write about, of course you love it. However, the majority of us would rather not see our team’s players put out 100% effort in a glorified exhibition and possibly get injured.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Huh? I don’t make a living talking about or writing about baseball. And I said “No” to saying he is not alone…in other words most fans also really don’t give a crap about the WBC.

        Where did you get the idea that I write about baseball??? Or that I love it???

    • byjiminy - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      Agreed. The whole event is just a marketing venture by the MLB to increase their popularity in other countries.

      For the owners, the incentive is it increases the value of their investment, as global visibility equals brand equity.

      For the players, who get nothing out of it (except maybe it’s more fun than training camp), I’m sure it was a matter if negotiation with the Players Union, who must have gotten something in exchange.

      If you’re a player from another country, I can see how this might be a big deal. But for someone from the U.S., this is like volunteering to give a tour of your high school on parents’ day. What’s in it for a millionaire athlete, who is working his ass off to reach peak performance, to miss training camp, risk injury, jeopardize a future contract, for some silly exhibition games dreamt up by the league’s marketing department?

      Training camp must be really, really boring.

      • PhillyPhanAnalysis - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:21 AM

        I definitely agree it is a much bigger deal in other countries than it is in the states. Hence, Japan has won each of the 2 years it has been played. You also don’t see Verlander, Trout, Price, Weaver, and some of the other “cream” of the United States crop because of the reasons you stated. But everyone else wants their chance to beat the U.S., because we spawned the damn sport, and we are the U.S., of course.

        I will admit that I have watched a few games, and it is interesting to see the cultural differences and how they effect how the game is played in each. I was really impressed with Chinese Taipei. And also heard some interesting tidbits about how the Chinese Taipei team had associates infiltrate the Korean baseball system to be able to see exactly what’s going on with the other team. You know, that thing we Americans like to call “scouting”. They were caught and were forced to formally apologize!

        Then you have the way the Japanese parks are set up with the bullpens pretty much in a bunker behind and underneath the dugouts. The coach has a video feed to see his pitchers that are warming up. I assume this is so the opposing manager can’t see if there is a lefty or righty warming up. Changes things a bit, especially towards the end of the game.

        The Japanese team are extremely good defensively and are fundementally sound players. Just throwing in my 2 pennies.

  2. orelmiraculous - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Headline should read “many American players”. Plenty of Latin players have said its far more important than the world series to them.

    • heyblueyoustink - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:01 AM

      Dude, after the past two days, someone at the WBC should hire you as their publicist 82 Million out of 82 million times.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:06 AM

      His point is that players say it, but they do not necessarily mean it. So the quotes from Latin Players would fall in line with his suppostion – which is not suggest they are lying, or that Craig is right.

      Personally, I have a hard time believing a player truly would want the WBC more then the World Series. If soemone said they are both important, and one does not affect the other – okay, that I can accept. But WBC over World Series? No way – you are just trying to score points with the folks at home

    • paperlions - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:07 AM


      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      • paperlions - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:18 AM


        Found this one too:

      • Francisco (FC) - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        Obviously it’s a generalization you can’t really prove but what he says jives with what you read in interviews for a number of these players in their home towns, it’s just that Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venzuela are USED to national teams representing them in big regional events. The Caribbean Series is a yearly tournament that’s a big deal south of the keys. I’m not surprised if they consider the WBC an extension of that, obviously not all of them will.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        I don’t read

        anymore. They got too biased

      • paperlions - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:29 PM



    • atlrod - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Could I get evidence that they’ve said that the WBC is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the World Series? I have no problem believing that Latin players value it more, but more than winning the World Series? I’d like to see some evidence that some players have said that.

      • pellypell - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM

        If it was on the internet, it must be true. Bonjour.

        -French Model

  3. proudlycanadian - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    The majority of players for countries such as Canada and the Dominican Republic are thrilled to be playing for their country.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      Yes, but if Phiilipe Aumont changes his mind, then a majority of Candians are against it :)

      Oh come on…..jokes abut Canada being small are always funny!!

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:22 AM

        Look at a map. Canada is larger than the US, furthermore only 2 cities in the US have more people than Toronto.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

        Don’t make me quote Dave Barry!

        I am from Delaware, we get jokes about our small size all the time (and yes, as Koby pointed out, that was a population joke….we all know how large Nunavut is), relax and wear it with pride

      • kopy - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        Yeah, but it was a population joke, and those stats can be cherry-picked: Just 1 of the 50 US states has more people than Canada.

      • kopy - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:45 AM

        And for the record, I love Canada, but you don’t grow up in Minnesota without learning some cheap jokes about the place.

    • baseballisboring - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      That’s kinda the whole point of the WBC though, to try and help popularize the sport in other countries. Baseball is already huge in America and it’s quite obviously the best league in the world. Some guys, I’m sure, get into the whole
      “playing for your country” thing, but I don’t blame guys like Hamels who don’t. The WBC isn’t really for the American fans nearly as much as it is for China, Australia, Brazil, etc…

  4. danaking - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    I like Hamels. He sometimes says things he wishes he hadn’t, but he says what he thinks, and has usually thought about it. I don’t always agree with him, but it’s refreshing.

  5. utleyfan - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Hamels made those comments prior to the DR shellacking as well. —

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      And the goal in that aformentioned “shellacking” was to only throw fastballs, so he could get his work in on that. Obviously the DR guys were hitting the tar out of it – but if your goal is to throw it, you stick with it no matter what in spring trainging.

  6. escapingexile - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    I think the problem is that MLB is the pinnacle for baseball players around the world, so anything else is just a step down. When the WBC marketing department tries to present the event at some sort of Olympic type levels of representing your country, the fact of the matter is, it’s just not (yet?). For some players, specifically those whose lack of talent prevents them from reaching the pinnacle that is MLB, I’m sure this is an amazing event. They get a chance to compete against some of the best in the world and it also provides some exposure for them in the hopes that maybe someone likes what they see. I live close to L.A., so I will use a reference maybe most people won’t understand. It’s the equivalent of driving down to the Commerce Casino on a Friday night. Sure, most times that might be fun. But if I am going to Vegas on Saturday, why would I drive to the Commerce Casino Friday night?

  7. historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I guess you fellas should thank Craig for giving you a hater post to vent on.

  8. irishphilly87 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Thats why Cole is a World Series MVP baby hes awesome baby with a capital A!!!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:22 AM

      Holy shit it’s Dickie V!

    • historiophiliac - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Thanks for your input, Punctuation-challenged Telly Savalas.

  9. ryanrockzzz - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    To me the WBC is comparable in some ways to the World Cup. People in other countries love it, take it seriously, and are passionate about it. Americans can dig it every four years, but it’s not life or death, and most of us watch the matches from a very casual mindset.

    Same thing here. Americans get the top professional baseball all summer, every year. So to me it makes sense for American born players, like Hamels to feel that way. What alliegance should they have to the WBC? What passion should they feel for it?

    Obviously, countries that are more rooted in national pride take this competition, or any competition involving their country much more seriously. That is why I think there is a good side to the WBC, but it is just harder to see through the lense of living in America.

    If the WBC wanted to cater to JUST Americans they obviously wouldn’t be holding this thing during Spring Training, but rather in November/December in some hot ass, pleasant part of the world. They also would need the best players from the USA on the team, with a desire to win. Since both of those things probably won’t happen, in my opinion it seems that the majority of people here won’t take it seriously.

  10. hojo20 - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    ” the World Series is a little bit more important than whatever trophy they give for the World Baseball Classic.”

    That sums the WBC’s worth…..”whatever trophy the give”

  11. Kevin Gillman - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    I’ll say this again, I am interested, it’s baseball. But they are playing at the wrong time of the year, and they still aren’t sure about who is playing, or who isn’t. If they played in December, or even January, and announce their final roster by November, the players would have trained themselves to get ready for the WBC, rather than use Spring Training to get ready. I just can’t understand why they haven’t tried to change those rules, after 3 WBC tournaments.

  12. schmedley69 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    The WBC just hasn’t been the same since Don King came along and ruined it.

  13. dmartsd - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    That’s the difference between other players and American players they’re not selfish they go out there and play for their country with their country. The wbc is awesome too bad other baseball fans don’t see that other countries have surpassed the US at their own game that would motivate me enough to train early and play hard and bring A game Cole

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